It’s Sunday night and I’m driving to church solo. With everyone we know being sick, we’ve decided to try and quarantine our children into the house and Bubble-Boy them from any diseases. Six days pre-baby would not be an ideal time for the two kids to come down with the drowsy, coughing, dripping, sleeping, scratchy throat sickness. Welcome to the world, new baby! GERMS!
After serving in the Info Center and directing people hither and tither, “Water Baptisms this way, New Believers Packets down stairs, Sign up to Volunteer here,” etc, etc, so forth and so on, I make my way to the balcony and stare down at a man named Robert who gives a sermon about faith and obedience and about going out into the world.
How do you become those disciples in the Bible? DO YOU become those disciples in the Bible? How do you go from the person you are now to the person you are called to be? Well, like everything in life, you take it one step at a time. You wake up this morning and you pray on your way to work. You read a chapter from your Bible. You let someone slide into traffic. You hold a door. You reflect the love of Christ and you go out into a dark world completely fearless knowing that God has his arms around you.
On my drive home I speculate about what I could be doing; what are my next steps. I don’t pray enough. I don’t read my Bible enough. I pray with my kids at night and over meals and I read them stories from the children’s Bible but am I raising them to invest in faith or am I merely showing them what a Christian going the motions looks like?
So I have to question myself and wonder, when people look at me – maybe not just the quick sideways glance – but when they look at me, do they know that I’m a Christian? Do my actions and deeds in my public life reflect someone who cares?
I come home and sit down for a late dinner with the kids and I say, “Let’s pray,” and both kids shut their eyes and Quinn even curls her hands beneath her chin and I think, “God, please let me do this right. I’m not just trying to raise operable adults. I’m trying to raise children who love You and feel compassion for The World around them.”
I pray for our food and the children repeat, I pray for a small list of sick people we know and the children repeat, I pray for protection over my dad, who is currently oversees with the military and they repeat. I say, “Amen,” and we eat.
After dinner Quinn asks if we can go swing and, it’s pitch black out and well beyond her bedtime but I figure, “What’s ten minutes?” We go outside and I sit on the swing and she in my lap and as we rock back and forth, she looks up at the stars and says, “Dad! Look! Stars!” and I say, “Yes, that’s right,” and then she says, “Dad, give me a kiss,” and so I do.
Thirty feet away, through the darkness of our lawn, over our patio and on top of the steps leading into our back door, I see a small figure shyly emerge and look around. It speaks. “Daa-haaad??” It’s Rory and he suspects we’re out here but can’t see us way out in the back, his eyes not yet adjusted to the light.
I shout, “We’re right here!” and his face follows my voice but I can tell that he still can’t see me so I say, “We’re swinging!” and he jumps off the back steps and runs, fearless, into the darkness, positive that his father is out there. He runs straight to me and says, “Let’s swing!”
As I push he and Quinn I wonder how I can be like that; how can I run into the darkness, believing my Father is out there, waiting for me with some ethereal and eternal swing set.
The first step, I suppose, is to jump off the back steps.
I get into my car in the morning and listen to a chapter of The Bible on my iPhone, hoping and praying that concentric circles ripple out from every decision I make and affect those around me in positive ways. I pray that my decisions influence my children, who influence the world.
Remember, every free thinking world changer had a dad. And remember, if you’re reading this and you are a dad, it is your responsibility to create and inspire change, not only in your family, but in your world. You are a guiding light, a beacon and the Make-Or-Break point for each child in your life.
There are no excuses for being a bad example.
Grab your children, embrace them, and send them out into a dark world that needs compassion.