In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. (Luke 16:23)

WIDE-EYED, I EXAMINED THE DISTANCE between the bottom of the top and the top of the bottom parts of my preteen’s new cheerleading uniform. Tough, blingy, and beautiful, it revealed more tummy than her modest swimsuits. The team’s clothing was coach-selected and sanctioned, and all important parts were covered, so I recognized this as part of my daughter’s new endeavor.

In that moment, my mind wandered to the relationship between time and space and parenting. How often have we parents considered the number of saving years remaining before college? How many times have we calculated the minutes required by our young driver to get to his or her destination? And who hasn’t lamented the possibility of many miles of separation in years to come? We rely on close proximity and ample time to protect our young children and teach older ones the lessons needed as they grow to adulthood.

When Jesus shared the story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar, He attempted to illustrate a lesson to the Pharisees. Though wealthy and of status, the rich man was a long way from heaven in eternity. However, Lazarus, who had lain at his gate, had been spared hell, and there was no remedy for the “chasm” that existed between the two men after death.

In parenting, let’s cheer on our children as they develop intimate relationships with Jesus. For that is the closeness that matters most.

Be a spiritual encourager to your children so they’ll be forever-members of Team Jesus.

Hally Franz is a former high school guidance counselor turned stay-at-home mom. She enjoys being a 4-H leader, church secretary, book club member, and traveler.