I remember as a child having family devotionals, singing, reading the Bible together. I can still hear Dad starting, “When we walk with the Lord, in the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way. While we do his good will, he abides with us still and with all who will trust and obey.”
Mom shared God in the teachable moments of life. She exalts in the goodness of creation and taught me to turn that toward thanksgiving to God. Mom, like her siblings and parents, loves a good peach, watermelon (even if she puts salt on it and I didn’t inherit that melon-spoiling tendancy). I literally can remember the teachable moments, two times in particular having lessons on the birds and the bees, talking to Mom about following Christ. Then Dad held my hand when I made that step of faith public at my church.
These moments are the essence of the classic text in the Old Testament about sharing faith with our children.
Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
Mom and Dad believed and obeyed this exhortation to impress the beauty, love, and obedience of God upon us.
Still, we all have an imcomplete picture of what it means to impress faith upon our children. Do we really imagine practically what it means to talk about these along the road, when we sit at home, when we lie down? What symbols do we use to remind us of God’s love?
Jill and I were blessed to have a community of friends who were raising children and who shared stories of their parents with us. We also saw them in action, how they shared faith with their children, and we saw another picture of what it means to share faith along the journey.
I want to share with you one of the best examples of what I learned from another family culture, how I was able to put some pieces together of the puzzle image of sharing faith with my children. What I’m about to share with you is perhaps the most poignant and beautiful and sad and uplifting stories of a father and son sharing their faith along the journey. Sit in the backseat of a ’67 Plymouth VIP and listen to the exchange between young Brent Abney and his father, Hoyt. Walk the mountain and listen to their desperate cries to God and deep love for one another. This is what it means to share faith between father and child.
Transferring the Life by Brent Abney
Thank you for sharing your family stories. What is an example of another family culture that has filled in your incomplete picture of what it means to share faith along the road?