My wife and I spent our day off this week camping with some friends. As I was building the fire, our friends were doing the supper dishes, and my wife was getting the ingredients ready for a fun-filled dessert. Once everyone had reconvened at the campfire, my friend said to me, “Jeff, while we were washing the dishes, we were having a theological conversation about…”
Now, that might not seem *too* strange, except that the “we” in that sentence was a dad and his two teenage children (mom was away at work, sadly). Yes, a dad and his two teenage children were talking about the Christian life over the dishes.
I’d call that remarkable. And wonderful.
It’s a terrific example of a parent being a spiritual leader to his children – not just once, but over the course of their young lives. I know these kids, and they’re used to having regular conversations about their life in Jesus. And their comfort in drawing me into the conversation tells me that they also are used to inviting others along for the journey.
This is what God intended for us all! If you read the Old Testament, the parents took full responsibility for the spiritual development of their children, and the community played a role in that development. Consider Deuteronomy 6.6-7, which follows on the heels of the giving of the Ten Commandments: “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up” (NLT).
I encourage you to take my friends’ experience as a model. If you have children, be spiritual leaders in their lives. Show them how to walk with God. Draw others into the dialogue so that your kids can hear your answers from another voice.
If you don’t have children, consider being one of those “others” who are drawn into the conversation. Be an example of Christian faith to the kids in your church, in your neighbourhood. Engage them so that they don’t see talking about the Lord as “weird”. Let them know it can be as normative to talk about our faith as it is to wash the dishes.
God knows the difference we will make if we will do this, and do so intentionally.