On parenting, walking with Jesus, and being great at baseball…

September 19, 2008

I’m reading a book by Voddie Baucham called, “Family Driven Faith: Doing what it takes to raise sons and daughters who walk with God”. The weight of this illustration blew me away:

Telling the story of a young man who turned his back on the Lord when we went to college, Baucham says,

“Thomas’ father had never missed one of his son’s games. Moreover, it was his father who taught him how to throw a curve ball, how to put his body in front of a grounder, and how to turn a double play. In fact, Thomas’ father was the coach on his first T-ball team. However, when I asked whether or not he led his son (and his family) in worship, his only response was, “I never even thought about it.”

In other words, this man had spent countless hours and immeasurable amounts of energy teaching his son how to be a ballplayer but hadn’t done a thing to teach him how to be a Christian. When I pressed him on the issue, he said, “I thought the youth pastor was doing a good job of that.” The point here is so obvious that I hesitate to state it. When it came to baseball [his son] had coaches and leagues, but he was the one providing private instruction in the backyard. However, when it came to spiritual matters, he passed the buck.” (pp 35-36)  

The scary thing about that illustration is that its so true! I don’t think there’s a more universal picture of committed fatherhood than the dad who takes time to teach and play sports with his son… Thomas and his dad were probably very close! But how much more important is it for a dad to teach his son about Christ and spend time with him reading the Bible and in prayer? We all equate the former with good fatherhood. Why is it that we don’t think about the latter even more so? 

Baucham is not arguing against sports or youth ministries. He’s arguing for parents investing in their children’s walk with God, personally – not just leaving it to others. Please do play ball (and engage in other equivalents) with your kids! But please prioritize what is most important – teaching them about Christ and how to walk with Him…

Let me ask you:

  • Have you showed your kids how to study and correctly understand the Bible for themselves?
  • Do you pray with them often and direct them towards praying for things of eternal significance?
  • Do you help your kids discern the worldview being communicated in TV shows, movies, music, and newspapers or magazines?
  • Have you taught your kids how to share the gospel? Have you taught them how to answer common objections to the Christian faith? 
  • Have you taken opportunities to serve in the church or serve people with your children?
  • Have you taught your kids how to honor God with their finances – how to give to Him and be generous to others?
  • Do you take opportunities to point your kids towards awe and thankfulness towards God? (By pausing and reflecting on the wonder of music and our sense of hearing, or the flavor of a steak and the gift of tastebuds, or the beauty of the stars and the sheer immensity of the universe God created, or God’s incredible creativity and design as seen in a spider being able to spin a web that will catch its food…)
  • Have you modeled a genuine commitment to Christ: to Christ-centered fellowship, to ministry and service, to hospitality, to faithful church attendance, to your own spiritual growth, to evangelism, etc 

Even if your children go to a great Christian school and are involved in everything for their age group at a solid church, your personal investment in these areas must be of priority. Don’t just have others do it! Take every opportunity afforded you to personally teach your children about God and what it means to walk with Him. As Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

For an excellent example of this, listen to this sermon by CJ Mahaney.

God bless you as you faithfully raise your children in the wisdom and instruction of the Lord.

~ Donovan


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