Parents, it’s time for a wake-up call:
Ask yourself “How much time do I spend each day teaching my kids about Christ and the Scriptures?” Take some time. Think seriously about it. And answer honestly.
Does your family regularly have devotions together, and if so, how long does it take?
An hour? I seriously doubt it.
Half an hour? Yeah, unlikely.
Fifteen minutes? Maybe.
How often do your conversations with your kids reflect upon Scripture as it intersects with everything going on in your and their lives? As you eat together and talk about the day, do you remind them of Christ’s love for them when they are upset about the kid who said something nasty or hurtful to them? As you drive them to school, do you pray for and with them for their day?
Time is the great equalizer. Rich or poor, healthy or sick, urban or suburban or rural – EVERYONE has the same amount of time.
Look at the picture. That tall tube of orange balls represents the time you have with your kids each year. Three-thousand hours or about 8.22 hours per day. That sounds fairly accurate. The little vase of orange balls represents the average amount of time kids spend in church (I’m not sure where they got that number, but go ahead and double it if you think it’s a fair assessment for your kids). That vase of balls, even if you double it, would easily fit into the tube.
Now, let’s color those balls. Orange for the time spent rushing them to whatever sports practice and games, for the time spent doing homework and studying for tests and quizzes, for watching television, for when you just want a break and go on your mobile device and send them off to be on theirs. And white for the time spent in God’s Word and prayer.
Now, take those 3,000+ balls, mix them together, and pour them back into the tube. How much white do you see? Maybe, you’ll get lucky and a majority of those white balls will land on the outside of the tube. Maybe, the white balls will all land in the middle and all you see is orange.
Bringing your kids to church, Sunday School, and youth group isn’t enough. You, (yes, you) need to be bringing Christ and faith in Him into every part of your kid’s day.
And I can already hear the objections, “But our schedule is full already.” “But they have so much homework, and they have to learn.” “But sports teach them important life skills – what it means to be a team, a good work ethic, how to be healthy, etc.” “But the house isn’t going to clean itself. They need to do their chores or the house will be chaos.” “But I need a break from a hard day at work.”
You are right. Absolutely right. I’m a parent too. I know.
Let’s try something else with those pesky balls and their color. What if you do the little things? What if you do actually pray with your kids when they bring up something made their day difficult? What if you take the time to thank God for something good that happened? What if you point them to Scripture that fits with each joy and disappointment in their lives? And each time you do one of those things, that orange ball gets a white dot on it. It’s still mostly orange. But little specks of white land on a lot more balls. At least you see a peppering of white speckling in that sea of orange. This is all well and good.
This is how God designed parents to teach their children the faith. Deuteronomy 6:6–7, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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.”
But, remember parents, you can’t teach what you don’t know. You can’t connect the events of your kid’s life to the Bible and faith if you don’t know what the Bible says.
Parents, you have 8,760 hours in a year. How many of your ping pong balls are completely white? Are you at church hearing the Word of God? Are you attending Bible Study? Are you in Bible class while your kids are at Sunday School? Are you reading your Scriptures and praying daily? When was the last time you read something in the Bible and went to ask your pastor about it? (You’d make his day if you did that! I can speak from personal experience [Gal. 6:6]). If you aren’t doing those things, start.
Yes, those orange balls are important. God wants us to work and learn and enjoy creation and take care of ourselves and the things He has given us. But, in the end, everything orange pales in comparison to the white.
Parents, do your job. Teach your children the faith. Your pastor and your church are here to help you every step of the way. But it needs to come from you. Feed them and be fed for them.
Philippians 3:8, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Php. 3:8).