Loads of laundry. Wiping faces. Changing diapers. Helping with homework. The mundane tasks of loving and raising a child can seem far from what we visualize as grand, kingdom-building ministry. While many parents grew up in homes that encouraged service and outreach, the long days and short season of parenting may not allow for experiences that look and feel like adventures in ministry. We might feel defeated in our effort to expand the kingdom because our days are so full of the apparently mundane. But understanding our parenting as mere busy work may be the farthest thing from truth.
Paul addresses clearly how we should work, no matter the task. The verse reads: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). But Paul does not stop there. He goes on to teach about how we should work and what our attitude can be as we go about even the most mundane tasks. In verses 22-24, we are taught that all work can be done for his glory because we are truly working “for the Lord”.
But what does this have to do with parenting? Is there ministry involved in raising our children?
The way that we love those closest to us may, in fact, be the most intimate ministry God offers. Daily, for decades, we live side by side our children and offer them an example of faithful life. What they see and what they hear can bring them into a closer relationship with God and lead them to then reach out into the world to continue building the Lord’s Kingdom on earth.
Fill your home with prayer and bathe your family members in the same. As you clean, as you teach, as you tend to daily tasks, pray for every situation, every visitor, and every person in your home. God is be present there in our everyday coming and going. Tune into God's presence by guiding your heart to pray.
Intentionally grow your own faith. Allow your children to see you having devotions, to hear you pray, to see you take steps toward deeper faith. Let your actions flow from your relationship with God. Most often, children will walk the path that they see their parents forge.
Consistently live your family’s faith, regardless of situation. If you pray before meals at home, do so when eating out. If you attend church regularly, do so when out of town. Teaching that faith is something we live daily is a powerful lesson to kids. Our consistency guides our children to see what we value.
Allow yourself to see that even the most ordinary day and the most mundane task can be done to God’s glory. He sees you working to care for your child and can use that nurturing to teach even little ones what it is like to be loved, to be cared for, by someone who is selflessly giving to you. This lesson of sacrificial offering is truly sacred. Seeing someone give of themselves in love can help children understand the truth of what Christ did for all of us.
Parenting our children may feel very different from stepping foot on foreign mission field. But, the way we approach this important work can impact our families in important ways. Living a life that is bathed in prayer and thankfulness is actually taking hold of an opportunity to build His Kingdom here, task-by-task, day-by-day.
Loving our families well and intentionally living out our faith with one another, can lead all to a deeper relationship with The One who loves us best. God’s kingdom is being built with every single mundane act of love.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Rev. Deb Koster