Russell and Duenes

What I Learn from Tim Tebow

with 2 comments

tebowxIt has nothing to do with football. What I learn from Tim Tebow is a lesson about how to raise my sons up to love the Lord Jesus throughout their lives. Many Christian parents – including this one – worry about how teach their children to love the Lord for a lifetime. It’s in the Lord’s hands, of course, but it’s not a crap shoot as to whether their faithfulness to Christ continues through life. God gives us wisdom and he gives us means. So if I take away one thing from Tim Tebow’s life, it’s this: Do missions with your children. Give feet to your faith, taking them along with you. Teach them the doctrine, yes, but bring them along so they see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, feel it.

Tebow was born in the Philippines, though his family only remained there until he was three. Yet his family brought him along on regular mission trips back to the Philippines (and doubtless, other places). Thus, now as an adult, Tebow regularly returns to the Philippines to share the love of Christ. He has also gone with his father to Thailand and Croatia. He has shared the gospel with prison inmates in Florida. He has done more besides. The seeds were planted by being “brought along” on such missions by his family.

The simple lesson is that, when kids come along and see their parents sharing the love of Christ in tangible and practical ways, and when the kids get to participate in it themselves, they are more likely to associate the gospel with love of God and love of neighbor, and not just some bland “information” they get inundated with on Sundays and at youth group. I think it is particularly important that kids go on missions and service projects with their parents, and not just with the church group (although these are not mutually exclusive, for parents can also go with the church group). For better or worse, it is the parents’ faith their kids will most absorb.

I have a good friend who regularly takes his family with him on week-long missions to Mexico. I imagine that the fruit of this, over the long run and by God’s grace, will be a more vibrant and active faith in his children. And I happen to know that his own heart for missions was largely influenced by the missionaries who came to stay with his family when he was growing up. One need not go to the other side of the planet to make this happen. Missions can take place with one’s family right in one’s home town. One practical idea is to make cookies or other goodies for the neighbors and then go with your kids to deliver them. You can also take your kids on neighborhood clean-up projects, to serve meals to the homeless, or to visit the elderly at a retirement home. Or just open your home to missionaries who are on furlough. By God’s grace, let us make a start of it.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

March 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm

2 Responses

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  1. D-

    I agree with your sentiments in general, but I think it’s important to add a caution. As parents, I think we should make sure that our kids are valued above the needs of those served in missions.

    I’ve seen missionary kids and preacher’s kids that have a lot of resentment towards their parents because the kids were neglected for the needs of the mission. The kids end up rebellious and angry towards God, because they see God as a competitor for their parents’ attention. It’s a hard balance for the parents, because the needs of those served in the mission are never ending, and it’s difficult to know when to say no to someone in need.

    That said, I agree with you that our kids need to see faith in action, and service to others has a joy and reward in and of itself. Missions are important, but your kids need to feel important, too.

    -Bates

    bates

    March 14, 2013 at 9:56 am

    • Totally agree. Of course I have not much practice at it yet, as my children are still very young, but I imagine that if our kids feel like they are doing it with us because we love them, and we actually let them participate, then I think it not much different than taking them to the zoo. I think much of the resentment comes in when kids are trained to think that “being loved by my parents” means doing the “fun stuff” that all the other kids are doing, and seeing serving others as “boring.” So it has to be wholistic. But I take your caution to heart, most certainly.

      -D

      russell and duenes

      March 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm


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