A friend and I had lunch the other day and he asked me what our family does with family devotions. I’m going to tell you what I told him because today was a classic example of my favorite approach to this subject!
Those of you who know me, know that consistency is something I struggle with and family devotions is no exception. We’ve tried the daily devotional books, but it’s just hard for me to do that with any regularity. Plus, I’m not a “curriculum guy.” I balk at prescribed lessons that may or may not be relevent to my family’s current needs, so that has soured my enthusiasm for them. Plus they seem like assigned reading to me, and I’ve never liked assignments. While they may be quite suitable for many families, I personally quit using such devotion books years ago.
So am I saying that family devotions are not important–that they’re no big deal?
Absolutely not! Family devotions are one of the primary responsibilities of Christian parenting. It’s just that for me, devotions are a way of life more than a set aside time. To me, family devotions happen everywhere: in the car, on vacation, in the pet store, watching movies, listening to secular radio, snuggling in my Lazy Boy, and often at the dinner table.
Take tonight for example. I was in my Lazy Boy reading Google News on my laptop when Brenda called out to say her seafood enchillada dinner was ready. I brought my laptop over to the table because I had just read:
But as the Amish were burying their dead, there was also talk of heroics. Marian Fisher, 13, is said to have stepped forward and asked her killer to “shoot me first,” in an apparent effort to buy time for her schoolmates… What’s more, her younger sister, Barbie, 11, who survived the shooting, allegedly asked the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, to “shoot me second,” Rhoads said.
The four of us sitting around the dinner table reflecting on this current event was more powerful to me than any book lesson I’ve ever done. We talked about the amazing faith of these Amish girls, how great it would be to have such a view of death and life, how their example is bound to impact the world, how dying well is as important as living well, how part of me wishes I were Amish.
This discussion led me to remind the girls of my personal mission statement, part of which reads, “…to make myself available for God to use for His glory–whether by my life or by my death…” We had a great discussion about how people wrongly tend to cling to life as if this is all there is, when in reality as one Amish man said: “we believe in the hereafter. The children are better off than their survivors.”
So for those of you like me who struggle with consistent devotions at a set time and place, go ahead do your devotions anyways: by sharing about life and faith as you encounter it–on the fly. Talk about what following Christ means to you, what you’re learning, what you wrestle with, what you respect, how you feel about the culture, what you wish for them to discover.
Oh, and the girls are now in bed, but Google News just gave me a topic for devotions for tomorrow:
Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Michael W. Smith joined a community prayer service at a nondenominational evangelical Christian church in the Lancaster suburbs…”Is this God’s will that this happened? Absolutely not,” Smith said….”
Are you “absolutely” sure about that Michael? Yeesh. Looks like we’ll be addressing the sovereignty of God next!