Recently our family took a very special trip to Europe. We had been planning this trip for years. It was designed to introduce our daughter to Europe before her senior year of high school. What I saw while there both broke my heart and frightened me.
We saw a boy about eight years old, a fellow tourist from another country, walking down the street with his parents. A dog walked peacefully by him and suddenly the boy kicked the dog as hard as he could. His parents looked on and didn’t say a word to him.
We watched as men from various countries treated the women and children in their lives as if they were mere chattel. Any needs the women and children had were obviously of no concern to the men whom God designed to love, protect and cherish them.
We walked into many beautiful churches full of priceless artwork. The property and art work were probably worth millions of dollars. Designed to seat hundreds and sometimes thousands of visitors, many of them currently have a handful of members. Small areas were set aside for people actually worshipping God, while the other 95% of the building was for tourists to take photos.
We actually saw one full church of worshippers. We watched as the people left confident the “professional” staff would share their faith and serve others for them. Their only role was to attend services once a week.
We read paper after paper, in multiple countries and languages, full of corruption, violence and a basic disregard for living a godly life. One even promoted a “non” church so atheists could enjoy the weekly social benefits of belonging to a church without having to worship God.
That’s just a snapshot of our experience. Oh, we had lots of fun, met some very nice people and had experiences we will never forget. My heart kept going back though to all of these people we were seeing and meeting who had either no understanding of God or a very distorted one. How would they ever have a relationship with God? Who would share their faith with them? Who would show them God’s love through service?
In reality, I could have had these same experiences within a few miles of my house, possibly even a few blocks. I just fail to see them because my busy routine blocks these things from my view. Our families aren’t passionate about sharing their faith, because we honestly don’t see anyone who needs us to share it with them. We have blinders on to the reality of the pain, suffering and godlessness around us.
Christians are quickly losing the world for Christ. We are almost living out a reverse Great Commission. What can we do to make sure we start reversing the trend in our families, in our neighborhoods and in our world?
1. Put God first in your life and in the life of your family. Period. Joshua’s family knew where they stood. He stated it clearly in the Bible, but I am sure it wasn’t the first time his wife and kids had heard that as for “me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. There was no question whose Will came first in that home. It was always going to be God’s Will.
2. Become passionate about your family sharing your faith with others as you show them God’s love through your service. Your family should constantly be serving and sharing your faith with others. it should be as much of your family identity as your last name. This may mean giving up other popular things, but parents who are able to take the long view often end up being the most successful at raising godly children.
3. Realize that your most important ministry is helping your children develop a passion for God and following His Words. Any other chore, career, hobby or volunteer work will seem meaningless if your children grow up to reject God. Many church leaders over the years have personally experienced that pain and regret. Realize the short amount of time you actually have with your children at home and make the most of every precious minute. (You can’t tell my child is a Senior in High School this year, can you?!)
Take some time and take a hard look at the world around you. How can you and your family start living out the charge God has given to us to spread His Words and serve others? I would love to hear your ideas. I’ll share a few of mine soon.