Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Oh the Stories We Tell!

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets. And the Lord directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.
Deuteronomy 4:9-14

Never forget the ways that you have personally experienced God's faithfulness in your life. These experiences remind us of His love for us and give opportunities to praise Him and proclaim His goodness to those around us. In addition, this passage reminds us of the great responsibility we have to pass these precious gifts on to the next generation. When it comes to proclaiming God's glory we must always remember to proclaim it not only in the assembly of worshippers, as the psalmist does, but also among our own children and our children's children after them.

God gives parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings a precious window of time to minister to the children in their lives. He causes children to look up to the adults in their lives. They want to hear our stories and be like us. Even after they enter the teenage years and begin looking more to their peer group for input on their burgeoning personality, even then parents and other adults continue to have a significant impact on them. Teenagers are less likely to show it but they still want to be like you in certain ways. So take advantage of the time you have with the children in your life. You may not have stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai; you may not have seen God deliver the Ten Commandments to Moses out of the fire, but God has done things in your life. You have stories to pass on! You need to tell your children of how God called you to salvation even as you lived a life of sin and rebellion against Him. You need to tell of how He saved you from life threatening diseases and situations. You need to rejoice in the extraordinary kindnesses and blessings that He has poured out on your family.

This is particularly true for parents. If you are the parent of a child, the truth is that no one is as peculiarly gifted to teach your children about Jesus as you are. In fact, I would say that you were designed to teach them, but the truth is the reverse. They were designed so that you would be able to teach them. Literally, their genetic makeup comes from you as their parent. This combined with the fact that they naturally look up to you and want to become like you makes you, in my opinion, the best and most effective teacher they will ever have. You may want to run from this calling God has placed on your life, but you can't. You teach your children everyday. They watch you and they learn and then they mimic what they see you do (and this not always in your presence). So the question really isn't will you teach your children, but what are you teaching them? Are you telling them of God´s unending faithfulness to you and your family? Are you telling them how God set you free from the power of sin in your life? Are you telling them how God continues to graciously meet your financial needs? What has God done in your life that you haven't yet passed on to the next generation? Take some time today to proclaim His goodness!

For further consideration...
  • Ebenezer is more than just Scrooge's first name. In the Old Testament it was a mound, pile, or pillar of rocks set up as a monument to God's faithfulness or provision for His people. God commanded the people to set up these Ebenezers so that they wouldn't forget all that He had done for them. Forgetting God's goodness is a real danger we must combat in the Christian life for we have an enemy who is all the time trying to warp our minds against our Maker. One way to combat this is to set up little Ebenezers of our own in more modern ways. Then whenever we are down, we can remind ourselves of God's past provision. Here are some ideas.
    • An Ebenezer Book- Start a photo album which contains photos and short journal entries about God's answers to your prayers.
    • An Ebenezer Email- Start an email account solely for the purpose of keeping up with God's goodness. Set a particular time and day every week to write an email to that account telling of all the good things God did for you that week.
    • Ebenezer Art- If you are more of an artistic person, then you could create art to commemorate God's faithfulness in specific situations in your life and then display these pieces of art in your home. A photographer, for example, could take pictures to remind her of God's provision and then display these. A painter could paint. A musician might write songs, etc...
    • Ebenezer Names- This one may seem a little extreme but often in the Bible we find that children are given names that help remind their parents of God's provision and goodness. This is especially true when children are born to parents who were thought to be barren or beyond childbearing age.

No comments: