Run with endurance the race that is set before you, the race of faith.
"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
What a crazy, mixed up, secular world we live in. Traditional values that have held for thousands and thousands of years are questioned. We find Christian leaders are now also suspect and can find no leaders to trust. The political world is going awry. In such a world, we long for anchors and for boundaries to show us how to live, how to make decisions.
Spending time with my adult children the past few weeks has convinced me even more to understand that we all need to feel a sense of purpose in this world. We need to know that living righteously matters and is not a waste of time. We need to feel that we are a part of something bigger than just the mundane day to day tasks.
God created us to have purpose and it is what we need for our own lives and to give to others. We were made for kingdom work, for helping bring light to a dark world. Christianity is not about moralizing others or living by the right rules, but instead about knowing the present Christ, experiencing a real relationship with him in the midst of such confusion. We need to feel that we are participating in purposes that bring meaning to our lives. Helping our children understand that they were designed uniquely by God to serve the needs of others helps them to realize their position in God's kingdom.
There is a tendency to leave the work of serving others in the hands of the "professionals" or to those who have chosen as their life's work some sort of a ministerial vocation. Significantly, Jesus chose no professionals as his disciples. He chose common, ordinary men to do the work of God's kingdom. Spiritual qualifications in the mind of Christ are not determined by the degrees a person has earned at a university or a professional resume but by the anointing of his Spirit and by a willingness to serve in obedience to God's commands.
I believe that parents too often fail their children in this regard. They give a wrong impression about serving the Lord through the slight hypocrisy in their lives. We go to church as a family and listen to a sermon. On the way home from church we might comment to the kids, "That was a great sermon. There certainly are lots of needs in the world. God really has called us to share our faith."
And then we say, "Where should we go for lunch?" And the teachable moment turns into words of a platitude without action.
God will hold us all accountable for the wonderful opportunities we have to minister to others, the freedom we have to choose how to give his love and light to others. The level of materialism in America, combined with the availability of Scripture and the freedom to invest our lives for him, provides us with a heavy weight of stewardship for our own spiritual heritage.
And we need to pass this message on, to pass on the baton of serving him to others as they run their life race.
For what good works has God created your family? Sit down together and talk about it.