18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NLT
4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NLT
As a Mom who gets to stay home with her 4 little-big blessings, these verses are ever on my mind! I didn’t realize the immensity of my “ministry of motherhood” right away. It took probably 3 years before I began to understand all that this would claim. This journey of holding, not just 4 bodies in my arms but, 4 eternal beings is intense, wonderful, big, more than I can do on my own! Thankfully, I don’t have to! Parents are always wondering where that instruction book is on how to raise children (myself included), but I have found no greater help than His Word. And in That Word, He gives great instruction and a priceless example on how to train and raise up children/disciples for His kingdom!
Matthew’s commission to “Go” can seem tricky when you “stay” home with your children. I used to wonder how I would fulfill that part of discipling. It’s my nature to shut my door and do things the scheduled way without ever leaving home! As comfortable as it may be, it is quite unbiblical! That means I have to get out…go…with them! Taking four children out can seem crazy or scary or to some brave (or for my friends who have 10 or more this would seem a piece of cake), but for us it is just our way of life. When Nathan and I moved to Colorado we had 3 children and one(!) Ford Focus. Our previous ministry had been far from everything; so, if we went anywhere, we usually did it together! Grocery shopping has always been a family affair, along with getting gas, going to college, getting coffee, etc. At the beginning of all of this “togetherness” I was tempted to throw in the towel and become a hermit while Nathan did all the running, but I found that all of this time was good “go-ing”!
How will my children ever learn how to share with other children if they don’t interact with them? How will they learn to behave in stores and restaurants if I don’t teach them? How will little boys and a little girl learn how to live Christ in the world if I don’t show them with my example? I have to “go” – with these little people in tow – and “make disciples”! So, when we’re in a coffee shop and the children are playing with a train set and other children come up…we’re going to practice sharing, using mannerly words, and waiting. When we’re out in a restaurant and little hands and feet are itching to move and voices are carrying louder…we’re going to be willing to be seen by all as we’re correcting and training. If we are grocery shopping and fits arise…we are going to make a conscious effort not to ignore just to quickly get done and get out…we are going to stand firm in our expectations and make sure they are followed. When we are out at the park and we witness rude, crude, or unacceptable behavior…we are going to NOT point out how bad they are behaving BUT how we can learn from the choices they are making. If we happen to see a need…we will stop and show our children how to extend their hand and serve…to be just like Jesus! We will see every appointment as a divine one and every opportunity the one we are to take.
Nathan and I will move our hands and feet because those are the “prints” our children are trying to fill. We will know God more and more to become like Him more and more. We will strive to see His reflection in our lives so that we may give these Fabulous Four a clearer glimpse of Who He Is!
Some other ideas:
sing Sunday worship songs in the car and at home…then talk about the words
actually use those handouts from Children’s Church
point out something in nature and talk about Who made that
memorize scripture together
help others together…(serving at a Mission, an organization, out in town, or in your neighborhood)
when correcting, use scripture to back up your standards…have them say it out loud with you
listen to their questions and really try to understand where they are at so you can meet them there and then pull them to greater understanding
pray and read the Word together daily
spend time with your children, get to know them, be interested in what they’re interested in so that you win their hearts – it’ll be much easier to lead their hearts to Jesus that way!
protect them but don’t isolate them…they need you to teach them how to live in and not of the world (use discernment, your own personal convictions – not opinions -, and God’s leading in this)