In this blog I am especially thinking of men who has children at home. We are all aware of how swiftly our culture is losing even the memory of the Christian story. The story of a loving Creator God, who has entered human history, in the person of His Son, to rescue us from our sinful condition, is a story that is openly rejected and even blasphemed. It, therefore, becomes apparent that fathers are going to have to remember to tell the story, so our children not only remember, but also can ask the question, “How then shall we live?”
With this in mind, I want to challenge not only fathers, but grandfathers and single men to “remember” the story. In Exodus 12 we read that Israel is about to flee Egypt. God institutes the “Passover” and told them, “This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the Lord. This is a law for all time” (Ex 12: 14). Later in the chapter we read, “And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord…” (26-27)
Men, our children are increasingly going to ask, “What does this mean?” when it comes to way of Jesus. How are we as fathers and grandfathers going to reply? Our challenge, living in present day America, is to keep the memory of the story alive in the hearts and minds of our children. How do we do this? One of our greatest opportunities is at family meal time. This thought came to me as I was reading in interview of Larry Crabb. He observed, after consulting scholars, that the Hebrew word for “male” satar, means “one who remembers and moves.” I thought, “Yes, a father is to remember and then show his family that he is moving with Jesus.” He is putting it all on the line before his family; not hiding or excusing but leading.
I realize that for some of you, gathering together at the family table for a meal is a challenge. But I want to challenge the fathers, who read this blog, to do all you can to have a consistent pattern of your family for having a meal together. Table fellowship, along with family devotions has been lost in many Christian homes. During and after the meal, the father of the house, has a golden opportunity to share the story of Jesus. It was one of the most important practices Judy and I maintained raising our family.
Men, use the meal time to ask your kids about their day. Show genuine interest in their lives. Allow for discussion and dialogue. Use these times to tell the story of Jesus. Then, when your meal is finished have a devotional time. Remember the story of Jesus, not only by the use of Scripture, but also by your example. Tell what is going on in your life. You are modeling to your children each day an example of fatherhood that will stay with them the rest of their life. I know from my own experience as a father that it was during those family devotion that I “put it all on the line.” Nothing in my family life, kept me more humble and dependent on the Lord, then when I had to lead in devotions after the meal.