No, that’s not a typo. As Christian parents, there is a need for us to disciple our children first before we do the world. We cannot find “disciple” as a verb in any of the dictionaries, but it could be used powerfully as a verb. I found this definition from wordfortoday.net: “To teach; to train, or bring up. To make disciples of; to convert to doctrines or principles. (Referring to the Lord Jesus Christ) This authority He employed in sending missionaries to disciple all nations.”
To disciple is to teach people the words of the Lord, that is, the Gospel, so that they, too, will believe and follow Him. But in this work, we do not only teach through words, we also teach through the examples we set. That is, by the lives we live. So then, shall we exert all efforts to disciple people to the ends of the earth but neglect those in our own homes? I ask this because of an unpleasant incident that happened in our home on Christmas Day.
Before Christmas, our family agreed that we would not make any plans to go out of our home (except to attend worship services) until New Year’s Day. The reason for that is this: For years since the Lord brought us to our Church, workers and other brethren would visit us during the days after Christmas Eve, sometimes even until after New Year. Until last year, our family would go out after Christmas, not minding if workers or brethren would visit us while we were gone (for most of them did not inform us that they were coming). If they found us home, we received them, served them food, and gave them some cash blessings.
But as I’ve mentioned above, last year, we decided that we would yield ourselves to our visitors who are brethren in Christ. That we would intentionally not go anywhere after Christmas until New Year so that we would be home ready to welcome them. We prepared envelops with cash, food, and loot bags (sweets and cash) for the kids. So, we wanted to offer ourselves this way – not only the little gifts but also our presence.
8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”[a]9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Pet. 4:8-11, emphasis added)
On Christmas Day, some workers, including a family of 8, arrived in our house late in the evening. As we had already planned in advance, we were glad to receive them. The four kids played exuberantly in the garden and gobbled up the sweets from their loot bags, as we adults talked.
Then, it was mentioned that they still had two children in the van, teenage girls. The parents proudly told us that they were mimers in Church. Upon learning this, I got so excited to meet them, so I asked the mother to let them in, and at the same time, to have snacks and get their loot bags we had prepared. It took a long time (really long time!) before two teenage girls slowly and reluctantly walked into the garden. They were definitely morose! They both threw an angry look at their parents. To redeem the scene, I called out their names and invited them to join us, but I, too, received a hostile look.
When one of their brothers gave them their loot bags, they did not want to receive them and just left without a word! I was greatly disappointed and I thought, “These are very rude girls!” Though the parents did not apologize, they said that the girls were tired and lacked sleep from performing in Church occasions. But that’s NOT an excuse.
Now, please do not think that that is the standard of our Church. Not at all! That is definitely the exception! We all know the life of our beloved spiritual parents, our beloved Honorable Pastor Wilde E. Almeda and Assistant Pastor Lina C. Almeda. They prayed, taught, loved, and lived out the Gospel with all their souls. And the same could be said of their beloved children.
Those girls are children of workers in the vineyard of the Lord. Their parents serve the Lord daily, but why have they become like that?
It is because of this incident that my desire to disciple our children with all love, strength, and wisdom was multiplied. How can we effectively disciple our children, teaching and training them up in the way and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4)?
Set up a daily Bible reading and discussion with them
Praise and pray together, read selected verses in the Bible, and discuss. Let them speak also what’s in their heart. Listen to what they have to say. As much as possible, pry open their hearts. Be mindful to the way they think and behave. This year, by God’s grace, I’m stepping up this endeavor by planning out in advance the topics to be discussed daily. I have set aside a special journal for this where I could write the topics and record the discussions, so that we could also review what we have studied.
Prayer with fasting
Offer regular prayers with fasting for them and lay our hands on them.
It is imperative that we, as Christian parents, must be consistent and diligent in discipling our children according to Deuteronomy 6:7:
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
My gratitude list ~ the things I’m thankful to the Lord for:
26. our family’s quiet New Year’s Day 1 & 2 atop the hills, cloistered nearer to nature amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
27. the sincerest tears of repentance after a moment of lack of self-control, the pleas for forgiveness, the acceptance, restoration, and God’s embrace – a proof of His enduring mercies, forgiveness, and His continuous healing of our brokenness and cleansing of our uglinesses.
28. the kindness shown to this wife-mother-blogger on wheelchair and to our family (which was beyond excited to be away!) by the hotel staff.
29. the light of Christ that continues to shine upon our lives that is never put out even through the fiercest storms and darkest nights. For, indeed, His love never fails.
Just a note: the winner of my New Year giveaway will be announced on next post.
Linking up with these lovely blogs.
Journey with Jesus,