Monday, December 29, 2014
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We were sitting in the living room of a Native American family who were among the few Jesus-followers in their entire tribe. That's not uncommon. And Mom was telling us about how Jesus entered their family. Her grandmother had been a priestess in the tribal religion until she discovered what she called "the black book" and discovered the love of Jesus Christ. She was the first Jesus-follower in her 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. So, suddenly, their 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. And that turned out to be the house that Mom 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 this, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds. And 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 door frames 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 your forefathers as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth."
Now, I think these instructions put parenting within our reach; they make it manageable. It says basically, take advantage of each day's natural opportunities to build the right stuff into your kids. You notice days are mentioned three times here? It reminds me of that man who built his home one stone at a time.
There's a lot of fear in parenting today, and you can see some reasons why. Look, we're facing a world outside the door that is very hostile to the things that we value as parents. You hear horror stories about other people's kids, and you worry about all the things your kids might be doing or could do someday. You know what? Fear makes you play defense as a parent, and that drives your kids crazy. In fact, it could drive them away from the very things you're trying to teach them. Because the things you fear the most, you can actually make them happen by parenting fearfully.
But this biblical pattern allows a mom or dad to relax a little; to be more confident. You build into your kids in the informal, unstructured times in each new day. Sitting around, traveling somewhere, in the early moments of the day, in those shutting down moments of the day. So you build a positive Monday with your son or daughter. And then you put next to it a good Tuesday, and then a Wednesday. And then you put a good Thursday next to that, and so on.
You say, "Well, does my son or daughter feel loved today?" Have I praised them today? Have I prayed with them today about something? Have I given them all of me exclusively at least once today, even if only a short time? Have I kept my eyes open for a natural, teachable moment today?"
I think we've got something to learn from a Native American father two generations ago. He knew he couldn't build a home quickly. He just added a little bit to it each day. Well, that's the way we should all build our homes and our family. Add one more stone today, again tomorrow, and then again the day after that.
One day we'll be able to stand back and admire what God and you built together one stone – one day – at a time.