You always have to hold your breath when your little children are with other adults, because you never know what they might reveal about life at home. It pays to live with nothing to hide. Right? A friend was babysitting his three-year-old grandson not long ago, and this little guy kept the conversation active with a stream of consciousness, a series of comments on a lot of subjects. Suddenly the three-year-old brought up things he wanted to do when he was an adult. One of them was potentially a little revealing. He said, “I’m going to have an office in my house, and I’m going to tell my children not to bother me.” Oooo! His daddy has an office in the house. I wonder if this little guy learned that script at home?
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Your ‘No Vacancy’ Sign.”
Over the years, you’ve probably driven to some motel all tired and very ready to stop, only to be greeted by that discouraging sign, “No Vacancy.” Unfortunately, we sometimes do that to our children and our spouse. We hang out a “no vacancy” sign that says, “I don’t have any room for you right now.” If it happens pretty often, you could have one very sad, very frustrated, and maybe a very explosive family.
Honestly, there are those times when we do need to close the door and focus. But it can’t help any child to be associated with the word “bother.” You can explain why you need to work without interruption, as long as they know that you’re available if they really need you, and as long as you let them know when you will be available. But in too many homes, this business of being unavailable to the people who need us most is not the exception. It’s like a way of life. And without meaning to, we may be telling someone we love very much that whatever always takes you away is more important to you than they are. After all, you keep leaving them and excluding them to do it. Right?
There’s a wonderful blueprint for human relationships in Ephesians, chapters 4 and 5. In chapter 5, beginning with verse 1, our word for today from the Word of God, we get a fundamental equation of what it means to love someone. It says, “Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a…sacrifice to God.” The equation is simple but challenging: “love equals sacrifice.” And sacrifice means giving something you really value for the person you love.
In your busy life, there might be nothing you have less of than time. And your time, your availability, is what your children and your spouse need most. To love them is to give them time you think you don’t have because no one else on earth can be daddy or mommy to them; no one else can be husband or wife. It’s really the only role in your life where you’re irreplaceable and indispensable.
In a later verse, this passage tells us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” That submit word means to put someone ahead of you. Then it proceeds to talk about husbands, wives, children, and parents – all of whom, as God’s kind of person, will put the other ahead of themselves.
Your family needs your availability to them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s best if you actually offer your availability to them right away, then they don’t have to burn down the house or raise the roof to get your attention. You gave it willingly. Make it a goal to take time with each one to make them feel like the only person in the world at that moment. Think about each one’s emotional ledger. Every time you’re unavailable or gone, there’s a debit in their life. So you need to consciously and as soon as possible, balance that account with the credit of some focused time with them.
Don’t make your child, your husband, your wife feel shut out of your life by an invisible but very real “no vacancy” sign. Just always have room for them even if it means sacrifice. People who know they’re loved and important and listened to don’t have to start looking somewhere else for what you didn’t give them – somewhere that could scar their life and break your heart.