For some reason two things keep crossing in my mind today: the mission trip I just returned from with 29 third through fifth graders from my church and the super bowl. Odd, isn't it? I keep seeing how excited and jubilant probably 2/3 of the children got every time someone brought up the super bowl, but how they failed to show the same excitement and jubilance when we talked about God, Jesus and how our purpose in taking the trip was to be the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth now that He has taken His appointed place at God's right hand.
I stood up during out pizza fest on Saturday night and (probably made a down right fool of myself) enthusiastically told the kids how I would love to see them as fired up for Jesus as they were about the super bowl. As a matter of fact, I would love to see the whole Body of Christ as excited about their savior as they are about the super bowl.
What is the super bowl anyway? Three to four hours of men running up and down a field trying to get a ball across a line; and in so doing, using any and all methods to get it done, i.e., throwing, tackling, hitting, tripping, pushing, and pulling. Of course, they are penalized if they break the rules or do anything "illegal". Part of the so-called fun is to see who can hit the hardest, run the fastest, and throw or kick the fartherest.
Look, I can enjoy a football game (or for that matter, any sport or game) just as much as anyone else, but the extent and nature of the interest portrayed for the "super bowl" is, to me, quite disillusioning. It is disheartening to see how much and thoroughly people love the pursuit of "winning a game" and "their team" and putting extensive energy into making sure that their time is open so they can watch the game or listen to it; and that every chance they get they let most people they come in contact with know who "their team" is or who they are rooting for. However, when it comes to Jesus, their relationship with Him, their faith in Him and their willingness to go to any lengths to live a life like He did, they show very little imagination, energy or even life, joy or happiness about it.
Folks, we are passing this on to our children - BIG TIME! We are not setting a good enough example for our children. There are no ifs, ands or buts involved. As Christians, as parents, our enthusiasm for Christ will directly impact not only our children and their children, but EVERYONE we come in to contact with. If we've truly been touched by the hand of God, how can we help but share that excitement, confidence, happiness, and peace that it brings? A real, living, breathing relationship with Christ can be seen, heard and felt. If a person is walking with Christ, the presence of Christ reaches out and touches others; it can't be helped, not if you're submitting to Him.
I'm relatively new to the mission field, so I'm not sure what to expect in all situations. So I asked the Lord, prior to leaving, that He would direct me to the people He wanted me to talk with, that He would speak through me, and that people would feel as though they had been in His presence after being around me. I don't know if that happened or not, but I continue to pray that it did and that someone's life (that I prayed with) might be turned just a little towards the Kingdom of God and all that offers today.
Think about it a few minutes; do we really want our children to grow up to be uninspired about faith? Faith in the old testament began at birth, by way of the child's parents. Now I realize that even by going on this mission trip these children and their parents are far and away advanced beyond the norm, and I them and God for this. What I am lamenting here is that even in the Christian community, parents and children tend to show more enthusiasm for a sporting event than they do about Jesus and our "hope of glory"! One of my questions being: "Does the church even teach about our "glorious hope" anymore? This life is not our real life. It's a training ground for God's people. I just saw on facebook where the schools in some towns in Wisconsin are closed today as a result of the game, and yet, we're not even allowed to discuss Jesus, faith and religion at school.
I highly recommend this blog written by my friend, Art about the super bowl, the refusal of Fox News to run the John 3:16 ad and how it all relates to idolatry.
I'm not throwing the proverbial first stone, I am just shouting, "wake up"! It was only recently that God showed me what I was leaving behind to my children and future descendants.
The Bible speaks about the blessings and ills that are imparted to our children and their children because of our faith or lack thereof:
Psalm 103:17 Mercy
Exodus 34:7 Mercy and Iniquity to the 3rd and 4th Generations
I remember this poem from my childhood and now, after all these years, I can finally see its wisdom.
Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect...
The only thing that should be added to it would be that a child who is taught that God is AWESOME, INCREDIBLE, DEPENDABLE, FAITHFUL, LOVING, KIND, JUST, ALL KNOWING, "ALL GOING", and UNBEATABLE(!!!) will be more inclined to live a life expecting God to be all those things (and more!) and live a life of JOYFUL EXPECTANCY when it comes to God. Let's give our children that gift. It is one of the commitments I am making to God today.