Monday, May 4, 2015

Empowering Our Teaching Moments

By the time my children bounce down the hall and into their beds each night, I am in desperate need of a little down time--just husband, me, a sofa footrub, and maybe a burst of caffeine to get me through the next four hours until my own bedtime.  Sometimes, though, just as I turn to go down the stairs, my little ones will ask the question sure to tug at my heartstrings:

"Mommy....will you snuggle me?"

When my daughter uses those words, she truly wants to snuggle, to nestle into my arms and brush her face against mine.  Sometimes, we speak.  Sometimes, there is only silence apart from the sounds of our breathing.

The boys?  They just want to talk.

This night, I lie next to my oldest son, both of us high off the ground in the top bunk as he reads aloud the funniest pages of his most recent book.  The night before, I lay in the the cozy cavern of youngest son's bottom bunk while he regaled me with tales of his day. 

Every once in awhile, these snuggle sessions will turn into relaxed theology seminars, weighty questions about God all held in the non-threatening, soft glow of two AA batteries and an LED bulb.  Questions about God are easier to ask in the dark.

Last week in this space, we looked at the Shema in Deuteronomy 6 and how we must love what we teach our children.  Otherwise, our words will be wasted air if our daily actions don't demonstrate a deep and abiding love of the Lord.

This week, I'm still stuck in the Shema, feeling the weight, the burden of this burning command to teach the words of God every second of my entire life: 

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise" (Deut. 6:4-6).

What overwhelms me so much is the "where" and "how often" I must be teaching: when I (1) sit, (2) walk, (3) lie down, (4) rise.  Basically, that's my entire day in an action verb nutshell--sit, stand, walk, lie down, sleep.

Yet, there have been plenty of times within the past 24 hours when my love of God hasn't been easily evident or when I have simply wasted moments.  In all honesty, some days I wake to first remember how I blew it the day before.  

With this kind of command and its sense of all-consuming urgency, it is easy to feel defeated before I have a single interaction with my children. And that's where God draws everything back into focus by inserting Himself into my sitting, my lying down, and my rising up. 

The Psalmist writes:

"O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether" (Ps. 139:1-4).

God divinely chose the same action verbs used in Deuteronomy to show how much He knows about us.  Every time we think of speaking about the Lord to our children, every time we think of demonstrating our love for God--whether we are sitting, rising, or lying down, He is already thinking of us.

Even better, the apostle Paul reminds us that the Lord, Himself, is praying for us: "Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us" (Rom. 8:34).

This command for us to teach our children to love the Lord is only possible if we love Him with our whole hearts, souls, and minds.  But it is also only possible because He intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father.  Yes, you and I are constantly on Jesus' mind as He prays for us.

How comforting and empowering would it be if we remembered this truth and allowed it to changed our thinking?

How much could it change our thinking if we remembered that every teaching opportunity we are given to share with or demonstrate the Word and love of God to our children, we are going forth under the power of our Lord who not only knows what we're doing/thinking before we do but who has also already prayed for us to have victory in that specific instance?

Such knowledge that we have been prayed for, are being prayed for, and will be prayed for as we move throughout our daily tasks should empower our obedience and compel our hearts all the more to diligently teach our children about the Lord God.

1 comment:

  1. I love this. These are two passages I have memorized this year - with Bible study, during running, because of pregnancy :) - and I love this connection you've made between the two. I may borrow you (with credit!) for our last Bible study session in a couple of weeks on the Shema. Beautifully done.