Thursday, January 3, 2019

Village Work - Martin Wiles

Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Deuteronomy 6:7 NLT
“Dad, when was the last time you read Levi a Bible story?”
The text came one night after my daughter had picked up her two children from our house. She’s a single mom who can’t afford daycare. Since my wife can’t work because of health problems, she keeps them every day. Along with caring for their needs and taking them to doctor appointments, we read them Bible stories.
But life had gotten busier after I returned to teaching. Now I was working two full-time jobs and one part-time job. The Bible reading had somewhat fallen to the wayside—except for what my wife was doing.
The text conversation continued. “Levi just told me it was about to rain so he had to get Noah and the animals in the ark.” (So far, so good.) “He saw two pictures and said one was Jesus as a baby and the other was of Adam and Eve. They were in the jungle and ate apples which turned into snakes and then they went away.”
I’m sure my daughter straightened him out, but it gave me a chance to reinforce the need for them to get them back in church.
An old African proverb says it takes a village to raise a child. Parents can’t do it alone. Mine didn’t. They faithfully read the Bible to me when I was young and then taught me the importance of reading it on my own after I learned to read. But they weren’t the only ones who taught me God’s Word. My grandparents capitalized on what they did—and so did teachers at church. In my time of growing up, schoolteachers could even highlight biblical teachings. A village trained me.
In the Shema, God instructed the people to do the same. They were responsible for passing along God’s Word to their children. To do that, they had to know it themselves. Additionally, God had the tabernacle and later the Temple erected. Here, priests reinforced what parents taught at home. A village worked together.
Although parents can’t pass along salvation to their children, they can and should teach them the importance of experiencing it. Otherwise, we end up with a spiritually illiterate generation—which we have with Generation Z (those 3 to 21 years of age).
Be a part of the village work. Whether to family, friends, or strangers, pass along God’s Word.

Prayer: Father, keep us aware that we need to involve ourselves in village work. 

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