Today we celebrate our children! We celebrate who they are, we celebrate the joy and challenge they bring to our lives and we celebrate their presence in our church family. We value them and we want to make sure we nurture them in all that’s good, so that they develop more and more into the people God has planned.
As Christians we all agree on the importance of passing on a legacy of faith to our children. Still, acknowledging its importance is often disconnected from the real life understanding of what to do in order to accomplish the goal. Deuteronomy 6:4-9, also known as the Shema, outlines three areas we can all focus on to help pass on our faith to our children:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be written upon your own hearts, but impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
What we find in this passage is the Biblical model for transferring our faith to our children. The following three keys are valuable reminders, giving us motivation to focus more intentionally on the principles of passing along a legacy of faith to our children.
1. Be an example of loyalty to God. The Shema reminds us that there is one God and He is holy. We are to love God with our entire being: with heart, soul, and strength. This goes to the heart of the matter: Do our children observe our loyalty to God? We simply cannot pass on a faith that we do not have to our children. We set the pace. We are our children’s role models for faith and loyalty to God. Remember, our own actions will often speak louder than our words!
2. Demonstrate your faith. The Shema instructs us to “impress them [the commandments] on your children.” We are to impress the faith that God has placed in their life into their children. It’s all about transference.
3. Remind Your Children of God’s Importance. The way we remind our children of God’s importance is when we talk about it in church or at home. There are many ways and opportunities to do this. The goal is that faith becomes a natural part of our children’ lives instead of just saying, “Okay, faith is what we do on Sunday and Wednesday.” So, don’t isolate spiritual discussions from the daily ebb and flow of our lives.
There’s nothing more important than leaving an enduring spiritual legacy for your children! But this advice can be used for all ages in nurturing their faith. Making a commitment to help grow your church family members into all that God wants them to be should be a top priority. As we celebrate our children today, let’s recommit to making sure we do all we can to nurture them in the way that God desires.