See this jar? It has 936 marbles in it. Each one is a week I have with my child from birth until they are 18. Each week is a wonderful opportunity to show them Jesus. Every marble matters! Don’t lose them; use them for Christ!
Let’s weave into the fabric of our homes and lives habits and routines that show our kids what loving and living for Jesus looks like. Each age will present its own challenges and ways to do this
• For under 2’s, the way we love and nurture them will point to a heavenly father who loves them even more. A pattern of life that honours Him will lay down foundational values.
• For toddlers, as they begin to grow and explore the world around them we help them see the one who is even greater than everything He made.
• For under 5’s, as they make discoveries about how things work we help them discover Jesus – the one God sent, the Saviour who fixes our greatest problem of sin.
• For 5-7’s, as the adventure of school begins, we help them see a Saviour they can depend on who is King over everything, who is with them to help them in all their endeavours.
• For 8-11’s, as deeper friendships build and as they notice differences in peers, we show them the compassion of Jesus, how His love transforms the way we see ourselves and the way we treat others.
By the time your child is 9, half your marbles are gone, but equally, half your marbles are left! There are 2 ways we can respond to this:
• This matters more than I had realised, perhaps I should be doing something! Yes you should – in terms of eternity – this matters most – more than piano practice, sports success, popularity, educational achievement.
• I feel so overwhelmed by the responsibility, what if I’m not doing enough? Yes, you have responsibilities, but ultimately your child’s eternal destiny rests on Jesus. Thank Him that He is the one who opens blind eyes, softens hard hearts, and brings life to the spiritually dead.
Here are 5 simple ways to make each week count, to inspire us to be intentional about faith with our families.
Identify one slot in your DAY where your children can hear you pray with them and ask for God’s help with the day. Perhaps as you eat breakfast , or before you leave the house when the shoes are on or before you get out of the car to walk up to school. Let them hear you thank God for His goodness to you in all things – joys and sorrows, feast and famine – because of Jesus.
Identify one slot in your WEEK where you as a family will read God’s word together. Choose a day, a time and a book or children’s Bible that works for your current stage of family life. Even if you read 5 verses and pray while your child rolls on the floor this is still worthwhile! You could try Table Talk or another family devotional. Whatever you read, commit to applying the truth to your life: how does this make a difference to this day, to my choices, to our fears, to what matters most? You could do more than this, but don’t do less!
How can you carve out a time in a FORTNIGHT to talk 1:1 with your child about what is going on in their world? Plan to walk home from somewhere so you can talk, a trip out for an ice cream or a sit on a mat in the garden. Little ones can tell you their news and know that you hear them; with older ones you can start to help them unpack life’s stories, challenge the world’s messages, read a book together, watch a film together and talk about what it’s trying to say. Listen more than you speak.
In a MONTH look for opportunities to show your child that they are part of something bigger – they are not alone, there are others like them living for Jesus. Make church kids and youth meetings a priority. Spend time with other families. Attend a Christian camp or a Christian conference occasionally. Community life is not a competition, where you portray a perfect family image to those around you. It’s about helping one another live for Jesus and winning others to Jesus – we have each other to pull us up when we are down, spur us on when we are flagging and keep us on track when we lose sight of what matters.
Be honest with your children WHENEVER you blow it – let them see a person who fails and who knows they need Jesus, not someone pretending to have all the answers and no problems. When you tell your children how much you need Jesus to forgive you and help you to change you are actually giving them a much better example to follow.
As parents our biggest job is to point them to Jesus – the one we need, the one we love, the one we follow. To Him be all the glory (and all the marbles!)
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