Parents, of course you want to do the best things and give your children the best things possible in life, right. I’m going to strongly encourage you to do the BEST thing for them. And it’s not the best schools, most fun hobbies, a scholarship in their sport, all the coolest clothes, toys, and friends. The best thing you can do for your kids is raise them to know God and treasure His gospel. What I’m about to tell you is THE BEST THING you can do for your children. Though Jeni and I have failed in many ways as a parents, we have seen God use this one thing greatly in our kids’ lives.
Please teach your children the Bible daily in your home. Call it “family worship,” “family devotions,” “story time,” or whatever you want. The most important thing you can do for your children is teach them to know God and treasure His gospel by reading, discussing, and praying God’s word with them day after day in your home. And one of the greatest things I could ever do as a pastor is help you do this for your family. Church, I love you. I love your kids. I want to see all our children loving and walking with God for the rest of their lives.
This Sunday in worship, one of our young dads, Tyler, will tell his personal story of doing family worship with his young boys. Recently our men heard this at our men’s retreat. It was so encouraging that we want everyone in the church to hear it…and do it! Here’s more.
God commands parents, especially dads, to do this faithfully. God gives family worship extremely high priority. The single most important statement God ever made in the Bible is Deuteronomy 6:4, the “Shema.” Jesus said this is the greatest commandment from God, to love Him above all else (Mark 12:29). Notice what God says immediately after stating the most important command He ever gives. It is the command for parents to teach these things to their children.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 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. 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. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Go see more in Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:1-2, 11:18-21, 31:19-32:47, 32:46-47.
The Apostle Paul also gives this command to parents of the New Testament church. He commands parents to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The way we do this is by reading, explaining, and praying all of God’s word to our children day by day. From the time they are born and can’t even understand until the time they leave the nest, we are to pour the word of God into their hearts and minds.
If you do this, it will form in your child a Bible-shaped understanding of everything. As you read the text or tell the stories they will interrupt you with every question under the sun. You’ll end up talking about why your dog died, why we get grouchy, how to forgive, why earthquakes and wars happen, why we pray for the president and why people get mad at him… and a million more things. Literally your child will gain a well-reasoned ability to think about the entire world. Most importantly, they’ll come to see their own sinfulness and begin putting their trust in Jesus to rescue them.
It won’t matter how well your child plays their sport or if they go to the best schools, OR ANYTHING ELSE. If they don’t get God, they will miss the most important reason they exist. But if you help them get God, everything they do will become more ways they live out the gospel spreading God’s glory to the ends of the earth.
So if you’re already doing this, please continue. If you’re not, please start. Sunday you’ll see a ton of great resources for to pick up and begin using right away. And if you’d like some help, please come over and have dinner with us at our house. We’ll show you how we do it. It’s not rocket science, trust me. You will LOVE IT!