Old Paths – New Vision
By Pastor Domenico Danesi
As 2017 begins we get back into the regular rhythms of life. The holidays are behind us and everyday life continues. With a new year is also a new vision. New vision for your family, job, ministry, etc. It’s a time to thank God for giving you another year of life and to direct your attention to what He is calling you to do.
The children’s ministry will be focused on families. Without ministering to families children will be left behind to some extent. If you do not know the father or mother of a child you really do not know the “whole child”. The biggest influence on each child is the parents in their home. God calls families to walk and grow together in Christ (Deuteronomy 6). Paul speaks of Titus and Timothy as his sons in the faith and says that Timothy “will remind you of me”. Whether you realize it or not, a son will often imitate his father and a daughter will often model her mother. God designed us this way; hence His calling of “Follow (or imitate) Me” (Matthew 4:19).
Families are struggling. Fathers are trying to find jobs, pay the bills, and figure out how to lead their homes. Many mothers are trying to work outside the home along with tending to the many responsibilities they have in the home, and they are literally spent. Families are running ragged trying to get their children from one activity to the next. I firmly believe we must return to “the old paths” to find rest for our souls (Jeremiah 6:16). In this passage of scripture, the prophet Jeremiah was warning the people that Jerusalem would be under siege and telling them to stand in the roads and look and ask for the eternal paths. We as parents cannot lose sight of the strait and narrow path that leads to eternity (Matthew 7:14). The Christian family is under siege. We must fight; we must battle for what is truly important.
Much of the struggle in the family has been linked to getting caught up in the culture. Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us to be “transformers” not “conformers”. We are not to do what everyone else is doing. We are not to be squeezing out the spiritual opportunities to make room for our children’s cultural “experiences”. We are an “experience rich” and “relationship poor” society. While our children engage in multiple activities our homes are slowly eroding. Is it worth it? When the 18 years are gone, what will you be left with? What will your family look like when the nest is empty? Can you say you have done your best in leading them in the ways of the Lord? Is your marriage strong, or are you barely hanging on?
Here are some questions for you to meditate on in this New Year.
1. When is the last time you prayed with your spouse?
2. When is the last time, dad, you read scriptures to your children or led a devotion in your home?
3. How consistently do you attend church on Sunday morning? If you don’t, what is replacing that time?
4. Do you pray with your children? Do you pray as a family? How consistent is it? (Once a day, once a week, once a month?)
5. What would you honestly rate the current spiritual condition of your home? (Poor, fair, good, great, awesome?)
My friends, we must return to the old paths as families. We must live differently. We are not depriving our children by saying no to certain things. On the contrary, we are enriching them by teaching them the importance of priorities, and in particular, the priority of God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:33). I pray we return to the old paths in 2017 and we find rest for our souls and the souls of our children. We are praying for you.