“And now I commend you to God …” (Acts 20:32)
Paul didn’t utter these words casually, or irresponsibly. He had just said in :32 that “day and night for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.” He had POURED himself into these Ephesian Christians for years. And it was only AFTER those years of the hard work of discipling that he said, “And now I commend you to God.”
It should be the same with us.
God has called us to do the hard work of pouring godly qualities and discipline into the lives of our children, our students, our church members, and others He has entrusted us with spiritually. But we must realize that there will inevitably come a time when we are to say to them like Paul: “And now I commend you to God.” We’ve done all we can. Now we have to entrust them to Him. Send them to off to college. Send them out on their own ministry. Send them into the “real world” where they will be tested, and tempted, and hurt, and refined.
As with Paul, we are not to use “commending them to God” as a substitute for what we were supposed to give them. Like Paul we are to be responsible to teach and train those God has entrusted into our care. We are responsible to Him for how we have done that. But also like Paul, there will come a time when we have to let them go. They are not ultimately ours, but the Lord’s. And so with Paul we release them, perhaps breathing often his very same prayer: “And now, I commend you to God …”.