Last week as I was leaving for the office Terri and little Miss Kairi were headed off to school. I put Kairi into her car seat and then I said “Let’s Pray” So we joined hands and began to pray for the day that was before us. We thanked God for His blessings, for the day He had given us… we prayed for safety and for God’s touch upon the school day. It was about this time that I felt the furry paw of a stuffed animal of some sort take the place of Kairi’s hand that I was holding. When we finished praying together there was indeed a stuffed kitty cat in the prayer ring we had formed in the back of Terri’s car! I do so love this Grandpa stuff! It occurred to me however just how important it has been for this precious little gal to grow up watching mommy and daddy study the bible and pray together. How important it has been for her to attend a church that worships God and lifts up praise to the one who created us. How important it is for Terri and I to reinforce the values that her mommy and daddy are purposefully pouring into her life.
I remember coming across some research a few years ago that suggested that there is no question that technology has added increased conflict within the dynamic of families in America. Parents complain that technology wastes time, creates diversions from homework, allows students to maintain a private, exclusive relational life, and distracts from family conversations. Interestingly, the research pointed out that most parents are just as dependent on digital tools; they use the Internet and mobile phones nearly as much as their own children. Teenagers also complain about a double standard with regard to technology, noting that their parents bring home too much work and that it makes it hard to have conversations. It was George Barna who raised the possibility that technology has become “America’s new addiction.” That classic verse from Proverbs… “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Comes quickly and powerfully to my mind. The phrase “train up” literally means to touch the palate of. What the Hebrew wives used to do is that they would take food and put it in their mouth and chew it up real fine. They would then take a little piece of food and put it on their finger and they would touch the palate of their infant baby with the food and that would create an appetite in the baby for the food. We are called, instructed by God to create in our children an appetite for God! A Godly example by a dad and mom over time create an appetite in the life of their children for God. If putting God first is who you are, and if being a living testimony is the life you desire to live then a Godly appetite is what you will you will create.
I remember many years back hearing the story of a little boy whose job it was to sell apples to make money for his widowed mother and siblings. This was during the days when railroads were one of the mainstays of transportation in America. The story goes that as the train moved from stop to stop he moved from rail car to rail car pitching “Apples for sale, get your delicious apples here!” From front to back he carried the basket of bright red apples but no one was buying. As he stood in the last car thinking of what a long journey it would be back to the front of the train with a full basket of product a plan popped into his entrepreneurial mind. He then stepped confidently into the car filled with passengers and instead saying anything he simply took the largest and loudest crackling bite he could take out of a shinny red specimen. While the aroma of fresh apple filled the car and the sweet juice dripped from his chin he said boldly… “Apples for sale, get your delicious apples here!” Why, he barley made it to the second car before the apples were gone! Why? Had the apples somehow changed since his first trip through? No. Had he waited just long enough for everyone’s appetite to finally pick up? No. What changed was that they were now seeing, hearing and experiencing the beauty of the product themselves. Jesus said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” As Jesus is lifted up in our lives others are drawn to Him! Someone once said, “I would not give much for your religion unless it can be seen. Lamps do not talk, but they do shine.” Wow is that ever true! And nowhere else is it more important than in the lives we touch. Meow… and Amen!
Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.