Sunday afternoon on the quick drive home from church, I decided that two days of driving with my fuel light on was enough and that I needed to get some gas before I had to make the embarrassing call that I ran out of gas. Addison was with me and it was after a Sunday morning, so I was ready to get home for lunch and a time to kick back. As I finish pumping my gas, a ran pulls in behind me and a man gets out to start his own pumping process. I did not know the man and immediately thought about the TrueLife.org campaign at our church.
For those that do not attend Yazoo City FBC and are not familiar with this campaign, TrueLife.org is a website where you can get “answers to life’s questions,” and we have business cards with the website on one side and the church information on the other. I have challenged everyone in the church to give out 5 cards, and many are continuing to disperse these cards and invite people to come to church and visit the website with their questions.
I keep a stack of the TrueLife.org cards in my truck, and one place I have encouraged people to give them out is at the gas pumps. When I looked at that man and thought about the TrueLife.org cards, I was ready to go home. I quickly considered the hypocrisy of the moment, reached in and grabbed a card and told Addison I would be right back. I had a quick conversation with the man, who had just moved to town and had not found a church home. I invited him to be our guest, then returned to the truck. As I opened the door, I heard, “Good job, daddy. You did what you told us to do. You gave out a card.”
I have thought about those words since that moment, being reminded of the opportunity we have to impact those that we lead, especially our children. I have had several discussions with parents through the years that have ended with the agreement that our children “do as I say, not as I do.” I believe that is the main reason we lose so many of the younger generation that grew up in the church: they see the disparity between what we say and what we do. They are looking for authenticity and want nothing of what they often see at home.
So, what do we do about this issue? We must model what we teach. Here are a few areas where I think that is important to begin:
Service. Jesus taught the importance of serving, and I think it is even more important in the entitled world that we live in.
Compassion. Kids are mean today, and they get it from their parents, or their parents do not correct when it occurs. Our kids need to see us demonstrating compassion and respect to those that are not like us.
Stewardship. It is vital that we teach our children that everything comes from the Lord and belongs to Him. We are to be good stewards of what we have. This includes money, where we demonstrate our trust in the Lord through the tithe, then we need to teach our children to tithe their allowance, birthday money, and extra money earned around the house. Stewardship also includes our time and other possessions.
Missions. Open the eyes of your children to the need of the Gospel around the world. As a Southern Baptist, this is the time of the year when I promote the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. The International Mission Board has asked families to “Miss a Meal for the Mission.” It is a simple concept of you missing a meal and giving the money saved to missions. What a great way to teach our children the importance of missions and sacrificing so others can hear about Jesus.
I pray that we will set an example for others to follow. Do what you tell them to do.