The blog was silent for the past few weeks due to travel and writing of The Power of Purpose. Below is a second excerpt. You can get a free copy by subscribing to the blog. If you are already subscribed you can use the contact form and I will send you one.
This all sounds well and good but how do we practically pass on a life of purpose to our children? Here are a number of suggestions.
Live a life of passion, purpose, and mission yourself. More is always caught than taught. Our children will pick up on our excitement and passion. Do you see your own activities as contributing to the great cosmic battle that is raging? Do you realize the fields that God has assigned you to rule over? Have you connected some of the drudgery of life’s routine to God’s bigger vision?
Train them toward a life of self-denying serving. At the root of sin is selfishness. Many parents will work hard to develop all sorts of musical or athletic abilities in their children. But often these same parents never consider how self-oriented those activities are making their children. Even in our desire to raise warriors, we can raise warriors who only fight when it is exciting. But much of life is the drudgery of faithfulness. Serving in the daily plodding is the much harder fight.
Serve together to build the local church. The local church is the bride of Christ, the temple of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. She is worthy of our labor and our tears. Much of the application of training our children to serve should come out in building and beautifying the church. Jesus is building the church right now (Matthew 16:18). Zeal for the temple consumed Jesus (John 2:17). Should not that be our focus as well?
Connect the drudgery of life with the bigger vision. A story is told of three stonecutters. When a passerby asked what they were doing, one responded, “Cutting some stone.” The second replied, “Making a living.” But when asked what he was doing, the third replied, “Building a cathedral to the glory of God.” The three men were cutting the same stone but the vision made all the difference. The vision of the third worker lifted him out of the drudgery.
Get them around other passionate and purposeful Christians. Complacency is like carbon monoxide – a deadly invisible gas that puts its victims into a drowsy, coma like state before killing them. Too many Christians live like they are under the influence of worldly carbon monoxide. So I want to do all I can to find and expose my children to those who are passionate about Jesus Christ. C. S. Lewis has rightly reasoned, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
Praise purposeful Christians. Not every follower of Jesus Christ inspires others with their words. There are two kinds of valor – the valor of war and the valor of faithfulness (2 Chronicles 26:11-18). Many show that they are men and women of valor by the purposeful way with which they live out the mission of Jesus. They refuse to be pulled in by the world’s values or the silliness of complacent Christianity. They faithfully seek to do all they can in the post or field that God has given to them.
Present the needs of the world to them. The Western world is so wealthy. But as the Laodicean church found out, that wealth can suffocate vital spiritual life (Revelation 3:17). Our “wealthy” children need to see the needs of the world to gain a proper perspective of life. They need to know 4.5 billion people are heading toward a Christless eternity; 850 million people go to bed hungry every night; or yesterday 240 brothers and sisters were martyred for their faith. All of these needs break the heart of God and need to be presented to our children at the appropriate time.
Understand and cast a vision for the greatness of the cosmic battle. As a parent I want to cast a vision for my children that I believe God is going to use them in a mighty way in the future. As a parent, I have quoted Psalm 127 and said to them, “Mom and I are excited that you are part of our family. Someday, you will ‘fly’ from our home to extend the kingdom yourself. We can’t wait to see what God is going to do through you!”
Ask about their vision. Related to casting that vision is, as they get older, asking, “What holy ambition has God given you?” William Carey said, “Expect great things of God, attempt great things for God.” Part of what God used in my life was the realization that “To whom much is given, much is required,” (Luke 12:48). Much would be required of me on that final day because of the advantages I had been given as a young person.
Give them things to do that involve fear and require courage. Too much of Christianity is safe. There is no adventure or pushing our children to do something they fear. Too many Christians are trapped by niceness. Where is the passion? The calling to actively proclaim the truth and oppose evil. Our hearts will be racing.
Serve together in a ministries as close to the Great Commission as possible. There is nothing like the evangelism and connecting with people personally in some sort of discipleship.
Be great doers and not great don’ters. David fell into sin with Bathsheba when he should have been out fighting the war (2 Samuel 11:1). His idleness provided the opportunity to sin. Many young people are too busy absorbing the pleasures of this world to think about others.
In the booklet, The Power of Purpose, each point is expanded. Be sure and get your free copy by subscribing to the blog posts.