Wednesday, June 14, 2006

We were in the living room of a Native American family who are among the few Jesus followers in their entire tribe, and Mom was telling us about how Jesus entered their family. Her Grandmother had been a priestess in their tribal religion until she discovered what she called "The Black Book," and discovered the love of Jesus Christ. She was the first Christian in their family, and the village leaders didn't like it at all. In fact, when people decided to follow Jesus in that tribe, they expelled them from the village. It happened so suddenly the family had no home. They moved into a tiny building outside the village, but Grandpa wanted to build a house big enough for his family. Well, every day his job took him across the fields to work, and every day he brought something home with him; a large stone to build a house with - the house the lady telling the story grew up in.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "One Stone at a Time."

Our word for today from the Word of God shows the architect's blueprint on how to build a home, or a family. Deuteronomy 11:18-21 God says, "Fix these words of mine on your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands, and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, and when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses, and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give to your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth." Now I think these instructions make parenting within reach. They make it manageable. It says basically, take advantage of each day's natural opportunities to build the right stuff into your kids. Notice "days" are mentioned three times. It reminds me of that man who built his home one stone at a time.

There's an awful lot of fear in parenting today. I mean as a mom or dad, you're facing a world outside the door that is really hostile to the things that you value as a parent. And you hear horror stories about other people's kids. And you worry about all the things that you think that your kids might be doing, or could do some day. But see fear makes you play defense as a parent; one who drives your kids crazy, and maybe drives them away from the very things you're trying to teach them.

But this Biblical pattern allows a mom or dad to relax a little, to be more confident. You build into your kids in those informal, unstructured times in each new day. You know, sitting around, traveling somewhere, in the early moments of the day, in those shutting down moments of the day. So you do a positive Tuesday with your son or daughter. And then you put next to that a good Wednesday, and then you put next to that a good Thursday, and so on. So you say, "Well, does my son or daughter feel loved today?" "Have I praised them today?" "Have I prayed with them about something today? "Have I given them all of me exclusively, at least once today, even if it was only for a short time?" "Have I kept my eyes open for natural, teachable moments today?

I think we've got something to learn from an Indian father two generations ago. He knew that he could not build a home quickly. He just added a little bit to it each day. Well, that's the way we should all build our home, our family, adding one more stone today, and then again tomorrow, and the day after that. And one day, you will be able to stand back and admire what God and you built together, one stone, one day at a time.