I still drop the ball. A lot.
Whether it’s not engaging their spiritual questions as thoroughly as I should because they come at the end of the bedtime routine . . .
Or whether it is absolutely failing to model godliness . . .
Whatever the case, I mess up. And I hate it.
However, I was reminded last night of the power of our actions as spiritual models.
We want our children to know that God cares deeply about the poor and those in need. Our kids are very involved in our family’s sponsorship of our Compassion children. They pray for them every single night (without fail). They make drawings and pictures for each of them. We make sure they know when my wife and I are doing some sort of service for the needy. Whenever my children get new toys for their birthday or Christmas, we collect their old (but sometimes frustratingly new) toys to donate to the shelters downtown. When they are old enough, we’ll provide them opportunities to serve with us. And at the right time, we’ll show them global poverty with a trip to Kenya, or South Africa, or Central America . . .
You get the picture . . . we want their attitudes to be in line with God’s attitude toward the needy.
This weekend, my children were in the car when I stopped at a drug store. As I got out a woman approached me and asked for money. She had the appearance of someone who was homeless. I told her I did not have any cash, but that I would go inside and get some. I went inside, made my purchase, got cash back, and proceeded to leave. The woman was waiting for me, kind of off to the side. I approached her and gave her the money. I spoke some words to her, words that the Spirit had put on my heart. Words between she and I . . .
I get back in my car to leave. My children had watched the entire encounter. My wife had been talking to them about why we do what we do, and had been telling them the kinds of things I might have been saying to this woman. I added some thoughts of my own, and we went on about our way.
Last night, we are saying prayers before bed. My youngest says her prayers. It’s my oldest’s turn. She prays, and then near the end begins to pray for the woman we met outside of the drug store. She prays a kind and generous prayer . . . that God would look after and protect her. And that she would make good decisions with her life.
Then, she says, “And thank you God that I have a Daddy who looks after the poor.”
I blow it all the time. At times I fall so short of who I am supposed to be for my kids.
But sometimes, by the Spirit’s power, I get it right. And when I do, I am profoundly reminded of how important it is to model our faith for our children and others who might be looking to us for spiritual guidance.
Words without action are empty. But spiritual truth backed up by solid application is life changing.
Co-founder of youthministry360, Christ-follower, husband, dad, writer, and speaker. And a Boston Red Sox fan.
I want to say a special thanks to Andy for allowing us to share his story here at YouthStory.org
Until Next Time -Just Jon