When pond fishing, it is common to have a minimum size and weight of fish that you can keep. In some cases, the type of fish may even be stipulated – the landowner may be trying to thin out the perch population or decrease the number of big bass. When taking the kids fishing, it is important to explain up front that if they catch the wrong thing, it will need to be thrown back. It is not that easy in life.
He made sure the family went to church most every Sunday and that the kids were active in the youth group. When there were church activities, the family was there. When there was a need communicated for a congregant, they would sign up to help. Yet, as the kids matured they drifted from the practices of their parents. As is the case with a large percentage of kids that grow up in church, they go off to college and embark on their respective careers, too busy for church. They caught the wrong thing.
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4. In the Deuteronomy passage, Moses is conveying the importance of teaching the next generation about the words the Lord our God commanded them to follow. Teaching was not simply done in a church service or in church activities. Dads were told essentially to teach 24/7 - as they talked, walked and lived in family. The words were to be visible upon leaving and entering the home. When the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), it was good to know the word but the call became one of relationship with the Word. Likewise, going to church is a good thing – religious attendance and involvement is a spiritual discipline. While religion is part of the journey, what the kids need to catch is relationship. Be passionate and enthusiastic in living a personal relationship with Jesus the Christ in marriage and family.
It is natural to want the best for our kids – success in school, activities and life. The challenge in this busy and noisy world is the message that gets conveyed day in and day out. Inadvertently we can give the world more time, even credence over our Christian faith if kids see us ‘doing’ church on Sunday and chasing the American dream the other six days of the week. The kids will catch what we have got – religion or relationship. Paul’s charge is to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” That is a charge for dads to lead spiritually by example – to live a contagious personal and passionate relationship with Jesus the Christ in marriage and family so the kids catch the right thing.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the many gifts and blessings in my life, particularly the marriage and family You have blessed me with. Forgive me for compromising my relationship with You and thinking the kids would catch it anyway. My worldliness is what they were catching as I stayed focused on performance and success, chasing the American dream. Thank You for the wake-up call Lord that continues to draw me closer to You and deeper in relationship with You. Guide me in living a contagious relationship with You in marriage, family and beyond. Amen.
A faithful father lives a contagious personal & passionate relationship with Jesus the Christ.