They sit in church and hear the pastor speak. At the dinner table they listen to their parents discuss. They hear about calling and mission and work to be done. They sit nearby as we talk about obedience and directives and commandments and law. Surrounded by adults, our children learn about Kingdom-work and all the things that people are doing around the globe to help others learn about Christ. Yet, do they know that they have a part to play?
As parents, we know that we must teach our children Biblical stories and that we must instill in them a strong moral framework. We live our faith out before them and talk to them about important decisions we make in an effort to know and follow Christ. But do we help them to do the same? Do we help them to see that Kingdom work is not just grown-up work and the mission field can be as close as our own backyards? Do they know that the omnipotent God we want them to know is in the business of using the weak and small? The frail and faulty? In God's big story we find grace.
It is a life-changing offering that can help them to draw nearer to God as they grow. Because knowing God is powerful and big and in charge is important. God is not a distant creator who is absent from our daily life. The God who made the heavens and the earth has chosen to be our Emmanuel- our God With Us. No one will ever love our children more than the all-powerful God who designed them in the beginning and loved them enough to die for them. Cultivate time spent getting to know God and building a relationship with him.
What would have become of the Israelites without a slow-to-speak leader? The Bible is full of examples of flawed people being used despite their weaknesses. Think about David, Rahab, Paul, Zacchaeus, Thomas… the list is long and varied. And while we often portray these Biblical heroes as strong and faithful, their stories tell a more complicated tale. They were also fearful, doubting, sinful, arrogant, greedy, deceitful and fully used by God. Their stories are our stories and their struggles are our struggles. And if we release our need to present ourselves in a perfect, faithful light, we may be able to see how the areas of struggle in our ordinary lives might be the very things that God desires to use to build His Kingdom here on earth.
The Bible is one big story of God's faithfulness. Guide your children to see where they fit into God's story. And showing this to our children? Knowing that God can use even “the least of these” is truth that builds relationship and connection. Drawing near to the One who sees and uses our smallness can help us to do the same.
We need to empower our children to see and know that they have a part to play, that perfection isn’t needed for important Kingdom work, and that God will use us as we are. When we model this in our own lives, they will begin to see that our all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God is willing and able to embrace His children and give them opportunities to do His work today.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra