Last week we were watching Dave Ramsey’s town hall meeting about the economy. My daughter has become a fan of his through his homeschool finance curriculum. At one point, he made a comment that fear is actually the opposite of hope.
Or at least that is what I think I heard, because at that point a huge thunderstorm blew in from the west. The kind where you aren’t sure if it will blow a tree through your house or your roof will get struck by lightening first. The one where even your bravest child starts calling for you and her dad. Of course, the electricity also went out just at the point where the weathermen were about to tell us if it were a tornado heading straight for our house and if Dorothy really just blew by our window.
When your child is young, he is probably more interested in the bow on his present than what is in the box. Eventually, he discovers what is inside is more exciting than the wrapping (unless Martha Stewart is your aunt!). He will eagerly tear the paper to get to what is inside.
God gives everyone gifts or talents. We will teach our child how to open a birthday present, but have we taught her how to open her gifts from God? My guess is many of us still have presents from God we have yet to open. We haven’t even thought about teaching our children how to find and open their own gifts.
One of the more discouraging events of my Christian life occurred shortly after my baptism. I was young, enthusiastic and wanted to start serving the Lord immediately. I asked one of the leaders of the church what I could do and was told I was “too young” to help. Thankfully a more understanding adult overheard the conversation and quickly found a responsibility I could take on at church.
In our desire to help our children enjoy their childhood, I think we have often lost sight of the fact that children want to help. Although they may complain about cleaning their rooms, the idea of being responsible for something important will put a light in almost any child’s eyes.
One of the things I appreciate so much about the Bible is how everything is connected to something else. The water of the flood and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea foreshadow our baptism. Many of the Jewish holidays point the way to Jesus Christ, the Messiah. God gave the Jews Passover to remind them how He delivered them from Egypt. It also foreshadowed the coming of the perfect sacrifice – Christ. Our baptism is a reminder of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. It also helps us remember that we have put to death our old sinful self and risen a new creature in Christ.
I believe God understands we need markers in our lives to help us remember what is important. Just like those Route 66 signs with arrows help us stay on Route 66, markers can help us stay on God’s path. My baptism is a distinct memory from the moment I committed my life to Christ. When we take communion every week, it serves also as a reminder of the commitment we made to the Lord when we were baptized.
We are in the middle of a school break. Many of our friends are out of town. We stayed behind only because we leave town on a big mission trip in a few weeks. Vacations are a great way of connecting with the people who are important to us. Often we are able to see many of God’s wonders of creation as we explore the world on our travels. I even enjoy seeing the talents God has given people displayed in artwork and architecture.
I also know vacation is a time when many of us also take a vacation from God. We run around to the point of exhaustion. We are too tired to pray or think of mentioning the connection between God and the things we are seeing to our children. If we are away on a Sunday, it seems silly to waste valuable vacation time at a congregation we picked blindly out of a telephone book.