After a short break, Feast of FamMin is back, encouraging all of us as we spend time together with our kids!
Feast 019 :: How To Spell “Love”
I recently heard something multiple times, and it gave me pause. The quote (and I wish I could tell you who said it, but I also think it may be a widely used saying) was this:
“How do children spell ‘love?’ T-I-M-E.”
When it comes to parenting, there is no substitution for time with your children. Facetime isn’t the same. Super-fun experiences aren’t the same. Vacations at exotic locations (unless it leads to time together) don’t accomplish it either. What children need is time together with YOU. And while, of course, there are seasons of busyness at work or illness or other reasons why there can’t be full dedication to parenting, making your presence the rule rather than the exception is what makes weathering these other, “off” seasons possible.
Parenting as Leadership, Leadership as Discipleship
Another way to consider spelling “love” is through the lens of leadership. Andy Stanley who leads Northpoint Ministries in Atlanta often harps on this belief that as a leader, you should, as much as possible, do what only you can do. In doing so, you bring the greatest value to your organization. The same could be said of your family. While someone else could fill out that form, or complete that task, or whatever, there is only one person that your kids call “Dad.” There is only one person who is “Mom.” What only you can do is be there for your kids, to provide a kind of parent-love that only you can provide.
But of course, as followers of Jesus, it must go another step further than that. Being with our kids is important, but the reason it’s important is because being with our kids is the best way to love them by discipling them.
Jesus is our example (as always) on this. Consider this subtle but profound statement from John 3:22 (NIV) “After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them…and baptized.”
Here’s the beautiful irony. In the timeline of John’s gospel, this follows John 3:16-17 – the succinct message of the gospel the world needed to hear – and John 3:19-21 which talks about walking in the light and being the light. And after these huge, profound truths get shared, what do they do next? They retreat and spend time together.
There’s not doubt in my mind that this time together wasn’t just (wasn’t ONLY) watching movies, or skipping rocks, or staring at the stars. This time together included important conversations about important things because Jesus was spending time with them in order to disciple them. He spent time teaching them, examining God’s word with them, gently correcting them, asking them questions about heavenly things. And then, after some were convinced and determined to live as followers of this teacher, he baptized them. And you know Jesus isn’t going to baptize someone without some meaningful conversation first!
Your kids will never spend time in the Judean countryside with Jesus, but they can spend some time you as the ambassador for Jesus. So, what can you do to spend real, intentional, eternally-focused time together with your kids this week? It’s the thing that only YOU can do.
Until the next Feast,
PS – For anyone who calls Calvary home, please join us on Sunday, Oct 27 for our annual meeting (and meal). More info here.