Dear Readers, very rarely do I include writings from other sources in my blog; however, this new Kindle Book by David de Bruyn is a very worthwhile read for all parents and grandparents. The title of the book is: “Save them from Secularism: Pre-Evangelism for Your Children.” This Kindle Book is presently being offered free. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BWRDT7Q
I have known the author since he was a child attending our church in Johannesburg, South Africa. David presently is the pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in Sandringham, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Enjoy this one chapter of the book. It is my prayer and desire that you will download the whole book.
Chapter 2:Parental Piety by David de Bruyn
The first and greatest commandment is followed by a commandment to teach children to do the same (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Our goal as Christian parents should be nothing less than to help shape our children so that they will, by grace, become ardent lovers of God. We have said this happens not merely by telling our children to love God, but by shaping the child’s imagination. Probably one of the first analogies the child’s imagination receives is the analogy of his parents’ piety. This provides him with a picture of what it is like to be in a relationship with God.
Before a child knows anything about justification, penal substitution, or the nature of God, he knows what a relationship with God is like. Or at least, he knows what his believing parents express it to be like. The religious imagination of child is shaped by being exposed to his parents’ piety, and it is their example that gives him his first introduction to how God is to be loved, and if God ought to be loved.
This is probably why right after telling Israel that they are to love Him with all the heart, soul and might, God tells them that these words about loving God ultimately “which I command you today shall be in your heart.” That is, these words are to be internalized and understood and practised by the parents themselves first. Following that, verse 7 kicks in. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
Certainly, this teaching will take the form of direct instruction. However, our concern in this book is how the non-discursive, non-cognitive faculty of knowing is shaped. Certainly then, part of the teaching is the fleshed-out example of love for God seen in the parents.
Loving God ultimately can be thought of as ultimate dependence, ultimate devotion and ultimate delight. When we love God ultimately, we regard Him as ultimately reliable, ultimately valuable, and ultimately desirable. We do not trust, commit to, or rejoice in anything besides God as an end. All else are means: He alone is the end.
In a family, this kind of love for God is seen in very tangible ways. When in the middle of a health or financial or emotional crisis, Dad says to the family, “We can be very thankful for what God has given us. Let’s turn to Him now in prayer, and ask Him for grace”, that lesson speaks to little hearts in powerful ways. Gratitude and contentment say more than 100 sermons. When Dad says, “We’ve barely got petrol in the tank, but we know God wants us to worship Him. We’ll trust that God will enable what He commands.” And do you know what God loves to do when those little eyes are watching that act of ultimate dependence? Provide. Supply. Protect.
When the child is groaning about a sore throat on Monday morning, and Dad says, “Get out of that bed, and get ready, you are going to school!”, he is teaching the importance of education. But when the child has the same groans about a sore throat on Sunday morning, and Dad says, “Well, just take it easy and rest this morning,” he has taught something else. He has taught that education takes priority over worship. He has taught that our devotion to education ought to exceed our devotion to God.
When Mom will drive from this side of the city for swimming to that side of the city for tennis or ballet, to the other side for extra maths, and back again for soccer, and finally home, racking up a good 100 kilometres in the process, the child might learn that Mom and Dad like him to have activities. But when they say, “We can’t go to the Wednesday Evening service, it’s too much driving, and petrol is getting more expensive”, he learns about priorities. Petrol costs and driving time aren’t an issue if it is extra-murals or education, but very high hurdles if it is church. He has just learned how committed one should be to God, and it is not an ultimate commitment.
Children know what we love. They see it when our eyes sparkle when we talk about what delights us. They see how we anticipate the things we really love. They see how we reminisce over the things we love. And they see how we connect those things to God, if we do. They see what our attitude is towards the things of God.
If Dad’s sighing heavily as everyone gets in the car on Sunday, but he’s cheerfully buoyant before the start of a rugby game on TV, he communicates which brings more joy. If Mom is humming away while she copies photos to Facebook and makes scrap-book albums, but looks like she’s eaten lemons during the singing of hymns, she communicates what brings her joy.
And make no mistake, those little eyes are on you in corporate worship – do you enjoy and understand those hymns, or do you just mouth them? Do you love God’s Word and read it with hunger? Do you communicate your relish for the Word before and after? They notice when you’re soaking in the Word, and they notice when you’re looking at your watch. And later on, they might remember that you don’t do that during a movie.
Before we tell them so, we show our children what we think is reliable, valuable and desirable. God says there is only One who deserves that kind of love. That should be the day-in, day-out message of our homes.