January 5th - Baton of Faith
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut 6:4-9 (NKJV)
One of my favorite track events at the Olympics is the 4 X 400 relay. (I actually find all the relays pretty exciting) The fastest teams all have three crucial points where they must pass the baton. Please note that the sprinters have a 20 meter zone in which to pass the baton. 20 meters at around 20 miles an hour makes the passing of the baton a reasonable endeavor, but it does not happen without practice, concentra-tion and deliberation. In other words, it doesn't just happen by accident.
By the same logic, the baton of our faith is not accidently handed down to our children and grandchildren. Each generation must take the responsiblity to pass our faith to the next generation seriously. The ancient admonition of Deuteronomy still rings loud and true. The very highest priorities in the life of Believers that have children are clear. The first priority is to love God, and the second is to pass that passion for God down to our children. This has to be the most important challenge that we face in life. Back in the time when this challenge was issued to the nation of Israel, the children were educated within the context of the family. A short time later the Hebrew male children were sent to the local synagogue for education and said education had one priority--that the children would know God's Word.
In the post-modern era, the priority of education is not God-centric. That is true of all public education; but, even in private Christian schools and in our home schools, we would
be hard-pressed to say that the reason for education is to more fully know God. I agree that Math, English, Science and Reading are all essential, but they have now become the priority of education.It is a subtle switch, but there it is. In early American history, the reason children were taught to read is so that they could read and understand the Bible. The end game was not learning to read--it was learning to read the Bible.
If passing our faith down to our children is to remain a high priority to Christian parents, we will need to start considering making it the visible priority in all practical areas of life. The question is "where do we begin?" Start with some "easy to do things" such as read the Bible together as a family at the dinner table. Also, pray as a family--not long prayer meetings, but praying on all occasions when a need arises that requires prayer. Put visible signs of your faith everywhere and play music that is glorifying God. Lastly, talk about God with your children whenever you get the chance.
Author's Note: Make no mistake--our culture has its sights on our children and grandchildren. Pop culture is calling them to ideas and activities that are not in line with Christian values. Virtue is scoffed at. Moral values are changing. Ethics are set aside to reach an ends. Truth is watered down or "redefined." The challenge to pass on the baton of faith is just that--a great challenge! However; through intentional effort, prayer and God's Wisdom--we can win this tug of war. RJD
This is a picture of what I personally have at stake. Will my Grandchildren embrace my faith or be assimilated by the pop culture that surrounds them?