Term 2, Week 9, 2019 - Devotion

Teaching Our Children to Change the World God’s way
As parents we each want the best future possible for our children. We know that without character our children or any person cannot be trusted. That is why we work hard to help our children develop a character that is not only honest and committed to doing their best, but to accepting their responsibility to make a positive contribution to their family, their school, their church and the community. We know from the Bible that our children will only develop a worthwhile character through learning to persevere towards Godly goals. Romans 5: 2b-5a assures us that “We rejoice in our testing because we know that testing produces perseverance, perseverance character; and character hope.”

2019 07 01 devotion 01That is why we pray for our children to gain wisdom and judgement. We know from the Bible and psychological studies that children model themselves on their parent’s and teacher’s behaviour. They also need to hear our words of truth when trouble enters their life. Maybe a Middle School child is struggling to keep up with their schoolwork. Or a Senior School child is feeling left out of their friend’s activities. We feel the distress of our children deeply when events do not go well for them. We must not get lost in their troubles and lose sight of the person God is shaping and calling them to be.

We can strengthen ourselves with passages like Matthew 25:35-36. This speaks to us of Jesus’ wisdom, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Jesus today still calls us and our children to serve others - to make the effort to express love to the needy, the alienated, and the lonely.

It takes character to recognise when others are in need - to be other-person centred. As followers of Christ, we know that this represents God’s best life for each of us. We recognise this as a Christian community, and it is central to our mission goal of being a practising Christian community. That is why we offer opportunities for our students to be involved in missions both locally and farther away.

If anxiety for our children becomes a dominant way of life for us, we may find our efforts focus ‘on them’ and not to the development of a Christian character. It is important to look beyond the problem to see God’s greater purpose. God knows what our children will need to develop their Christ-like character. When we look at our children’s testing times through the ‘eyes of faith’ we will look to see the horizon of faithful living that they are moving towards.

Let us aim high for our children’s sake. We can then hope for them to hear Jesus say: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry … “

Dr Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith is an honorary researcher into student’s social and moral thinking decision making with the Excellence Centre.