Last night I spoke at a Wild Game Supper hosted by First Baptist Church of Hohenwald. It was a room full of camo, fried foods and testosterone. I loved it! When deer mounts are on the stage and squirrel dumplins’ on the menu you know it’s going to be a good night.
I geared my message to fathers. Challenging them not only to take their kids hunting but take them to church as well. Don’t just teach them how to shoot a gun and pick a duck. Teach them how to be men and women of faith and character.
Here’s some of what I told them…
I want my kids to love hunting and fishing. I want them to know how to shoot a gun and cast a pole. I want them to enjoy eating what they kill and catch by their own hands. I want them to love the land and appreciate the world God created. And they do.
My kids love to go to the woods or river with me. Folks tell me I’m blessed to have kids that enjoy the outdoors. I agree. But understand this… it didn’t happen by accident. It was intentional.
When they were two years old I had them crawling around in the woods calling at turkeys that weren’t there and blowing grunt calls at non-existent deer. That’s because I have a theory. Nobody accidentally falls in love with hunting. It happens intentionally. It happens when someone cares enough to take the time, share their knowledge and invest in their life.
The same thing is true with faith. Nobody accidentally falls in love with Jesus. It happens intentionally. It happens when someone cares enough to take the time, share their knowledge and invest in their life.
That’s powerful. As a Dad, let that sink in. Your kids don’t accidentally develop faith. They don’t accidentally become honest. They don’t accidently put others first. They accidentally develop strong character. That happens intentionally.
So let me ask a tough question… how intentional are you being about your kid’s faith? Are you spending time teaching them about God? Are you praying with them? Taking them to church? Getting them involved in a youth group?
The Scriptures say “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The key phrase is “train up.” Be intentional. Do things on purpose. Teach them how to live in the way you want them to live. They may choose to follow a different path when they’re older but your responsibility is now!
We do this in every other area of our life. I intentionally introduced by kids to softball. I bought them a glove, taught them how to throw a ball, signed them up for little league and took them to the ball fields. It was no accident. And I intentionally introduced them to hunting. I bought them a gun, taught them how to shoot, enrolled them in hunter safety and took them to the woods.
Shouldn’t we be the same way about their faith? Shouldn’t we be more intentional? Buy them a Bible. Teach them how to read it. Get up early on Sundays and take them to church. Lead a family prayer before dinner. Those simple things can have a big impact. It may be a little uncomfortable or awkward at first. Being intentional isn’t always easy, but it’s always necessary.