My husband also gave wise counsel to the congregation to be careful what we teach our little ones. If sports events, sleeping in or hanging with friends takes precedent over being in God's House on Sunday, could it be that we are teaching our kids that God is not important? Could we be contributing to that 80% statistic?
I've seen too many parents pour their heart and soul into the social and the athletic aspect of their child's life, while the spiritual investment takes back seat. I'm not saying that your child can't have fun, after all, my children all were involved in the school clubs, drama team, volleyball, baseball and football when they were young. But God and church commitments always came first.
I believe that we live in a day and age now that we MUST choose which side we live. Do we live for God or the world? Do we have a foot in or out? Are we hot or cold?
God said that "no man can serve two masters", (Matthew 6:24) . I fear that we allow things to stand between us and our faith. When we allow other things to be more valued than our relationship with Christ, that "thing" becomes our master. We no longer serve God, but we serve those things that come before God. If we allow people or activities to take the place of serving God; then that something or someone has taken the place of who we serve. Whatever excuse we use, the bottom dollar is that when we choose to not be faithful to God, we just taught someone watching us that God is not as important to us as they thought.
The Bible says that our God is a jealous God, (see Exodus 34:14). For this reason He will not stand to be placed second to anything. Growing up in church and raising my own family in church, I have learned that there is a balance and that by placing God at the top of my list, it not only makes my life seem smoother but my families lives as well. We must stand back and look at what we are teaching our children, not just at what we say but what they see us do.
Here are 4 reasons why it is imperative that we place God first in our busy schedules and lives and not as a back up plan:
1. It will teach compassion. As early as when kids learn to talk, they learn to reach out to people. Take a hurting parent and watch what a child will do; they will either try to solve the problem or they will come alongside and offer kindness or comfort to their parent. Children will follow your lead when they see you caring for those hurting in your church.
2. It will teach a godly work ethic. Everyone knows that we should have a good work ethic, but what about a godly work ethic? Our children need to see us demonstrating what faithfulness and obedience looks like thru how we work for God.
3. It will teach servanthood. The word "giving" isn't just about money. When we are faithful to God, that doesn't just mean with our time, but our talents and treasures too. When we put God first, that means in everything. We teach others by giving back to God what is His, not what is leftover, or a small portion, but what God deserves. He deserves our very best!
4. It will teach discernment. No one knows if someone is being genuine more then a child. They can spot a phony a mile away. When we put God first and seek His wisdom, we are teaching discernment. Even when our motives are pure, kids must learn that not everyone else's are, but the importance is to have the wisdom to know the difference. This comes from spiritual guidance.
There are so many other lessons to be learned from choosing to be faithful to God. These 4 basic teachings may be difficult to spot if we are not putting God first. Yes, I know God is everywhere, He can be with us at a Razorback game, or at a birthday party or in our recliner at home. But today, I am asking the question, "What are you teaching?"
The most effective life lessons are taught when we don't even realize we are teaching. I want to change that crazy statistic, I don't know about you, but 80% is too great of a number to lose our kids to. I want to place God #1 in all that I do and I don't want it to just be something I say, but something I do ...and something that I teach someone who is watching me.
"I say what I mean and I mean what I say". (Dr. Seuss)