He taught our kids about how to know God
We came grudgingly.
We were groggy, hungry, and grumpy.
Resigned, resentful, and with rebellion in our hearts, but we came.
We came and sat on chairs and sofas.
He opened in prayer, read a passage, and then asked us a few questions.
Boredom was the rule and engagement the exception.
We couldn’t get out of it and we wouldn’t get into it.
Consistency was his strategy and ultimately he won.
He learned on the job
He learned to tell a story.
He learned to pique our interest and by a sheer act of will he pried open our minds and hearts and brought us, finally thirsty, to drink from a river of life.
At 7:00 am every weekday morning my husband donned the mantle of family priest and force fed the kids—and, more often than I care to admit, me from God’s word.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
He took the job seriously
Over the years I’ve often thought that this is what being married to the Apostle Paul would have been like.
My husband doesn’t know about half-measures.
So when he read Deuteronomy 6:6-7 he took it as it is, an instruction to parents about what and how to teach children about God.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
He started with what he knew at the time
When he was 45 my husband got saved.
That’s church talk for the act of believing that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, that He died for our sins, and rose from the dead that He might give eternal life to all who put their faith and trust in Him.
And like Paul on the Damascus Road, my husband having encountered Christ immediately asked “what do you want me to do Lord?”.
He took off like a runner out of the blocks and hasn’t stopped yet.
Looking back, I’m still surprised that as a fairly new Christian he was so successful in leading family devotions.
This Can’t Wait until you feel ready
Do you realize that you have a window of opportunity with your kids?
The earlier you start the better.
It’s easier than you think.
You can do this.
Remember that kids don’t ask hard theological questions.
They ask kid questions:
- How old is God?
- Does God sleep?
- Why did God make mean dogs?
Capture the teachable moments
But sometimes they ask questions that give you a wide open door to share profound truth.
When my mother-in-law died we hadn’t thought there would be an open casket.
On entering the church we found that there was and our grandson who was about 9 years old had run up and looked in.
He turned to his parents and said, “You said she wasn’t in the box. You said she was in heaven”.
Possibly not the best time or place, but they took him out and explained about our bodies being like a tent.
Temporary housing for the eternal soul.
And they shared the Bible promise that if we are absent from our bodies we are present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8)
This is a command not a suggestion
Psalm 78 recounts Israel’s history of failure in their walk with God.
The first 8 verses remind us that we have a divine charge to teach our kids about God.
Whatever else you neglect in life, don’t leave this undone.
Children are an inheritance from the Lord. The word means something assigned by God.
We joke that kids should come with an owner’s manual.
They do, it’s called the Bible.
In it’s pages you’ll find the truth that will enable your kids to know God.
Let me say again, you can do this.
God will help you.
If all else fails, try Moses’ style of leadership: fall on your face before God and get up and lead.
What a father says to his children is not heard by the world; but it will be heard by posterity.
Jean Paul Richter
For more on helping your children to know God:
I discovered a new Bible Storybook by Kevin DeYoung called The Biggest Story Bible Storybook and it’s available at Crossway and Amazon. It’s a bright colorful book that I’m sure will become a classic. I especially liked this quote about the book on Amazon, “The Bible is a BIG book about the BIGGEST story. Each page tells about the God who created the world, acted in history, and continues to act in the present.” For children 6-12 in 104 short chapters.