Summary: On a day when we focus on motherhood and parenthood and their effects on us, we can learn much about how we can live so that our families and friendships are all that God wants them to be.
A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test, she included this question: “My full name has six letters. The first one is ‘M.’ I pick up things. What am I?” When the test papers were turned in, the teacher was astonished to find that almost 50 percent of the students answered the question wit the word, “Mother.”
A recent report from salary.com states that stay-at-home moms would earn an average of $131,471 annually, including overtime, if they received a paycheck. Of course, we have to take into account that would be about $43,000 to cover the base salary for 40 hour a week jobs. The moms here can attest that they would definitely earn the other $88,000 a year for 60 hours of overtime each week.
Perhaps it is a mother’s dedication to family that accounts for the fact that 84% of the people in congregations credit their mother with being the greatest influence in the formation of their faith. Over 70 percent cited their father as influential in their faith formation. With this in mind, it might be beneficial for us to pause and consider what we can learn from our parents and some of our friends to help us make our families and friendships all that God wants them to be—so that we can echo Joshua’s words when he said, “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
FAMILY AND FRIENDS—PEOPLE TO BE WITH
Psalm 27:4 talks about God’s house being a dwelling place. What the Psalmist desired the temple to be is what many of us long for our family and friendships to be. We long for our families and friendship to be where we “hang out” and dwell.
Time is needed to make families and friendships arenas to nurture faith. In this age of overcrowded schedules and hectic paces, we need to chisel out the time for each other. This demands that we make the commitment to our family and friends and that we make them a priority in our lives.
A portion of our time with family and friends needs to be time when we can be ourselves, rest, recuperate, and just exist. We call it down time. Our families and friendships can be places where we can let down our defenses and do this.
Some of our time with each other must be intentionally structured to stimulate conversations, and nurture faith. We can reclaim meal times and bonding activities for families, but turning off the television, and by spending more than ten minutes eating the meal. The reality that watching television together is not a bonding activity needs to be rediscovered in our families and relationships, and the effort made to discover better, more positive activities that families and friends can share.
There are several resources available to families and friends that can help them stimulate conversations, strengthen bonds, and nurture faith. ReadyClickGrow is one of them.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS—STIMULANTS TO FAITH
The Psalmist writes that he wants to “behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in his temple.
For decades, if people were asked, “Where would they behold the beauty of the Lord,” a majority of them would respond, “In a church.” If they were asked where they learned about Jesus, they would reply, “In Sunday School.” This is a modern day phenomena. Historically, the family was the place where children learned about the Christian faith. They learned about prayer by watching their parents pray. They understood how God moved in their lives by listening to their parent’s conversation—about how God was providing for them.
Research has proven that faith is not taught, but rather it is caught. We may be attracted to congregations that have dazzling youth programs that excite the youth and interest them, and though these ministries are important by themselves they do not do a good job developing a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ in the life of the youth. It takes relationships with parents and other adults who live out their faith on a daily basis and who are willing to be role models, mentors and teachers, to nurture and develop strong faith.
For adults these relationships are formed in small groups and supportive friendships where we are loved for who we are, but challenged to be more—to be all that we can be.
This vision of our families and friendships is not to image them to be little monasteries that have a reputation of being slightly out of touch with reality. Rather, this vision sees families and friendships for all that they can be—all that God wants them to be.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS—OUR SUPPORT AND ROCKS