Tag Archives: volunteer

We Can’t Make Our Children Join Us!

In today’s world, many of us who are long time church members despair at the lack of interest our children show towards church. We brought them to Sunday School as children. They’ve seen our example. Yet they reject it all. We tried to sow the seeds of faith but they didn’t take root. What can we do?

We know the value the church community has for us. Our church family celebrates with us when good things happen, cries with us in our pain and supports us as we step into the world trying new things. Some people think the church is a social club.

Yet the church is so much more than a social club. We gather together in faith. Sunday morning worship and bible study lead us to think about what we believe, to grow in our spirituality. As we gather together we are safe to face the challenge of living, to ask the questions that whirl round in our heads. As we share our resources and our gifts we can reach out beyond the church walls, and the boundaries of our community and country to make a difference in the world. Building a personal relationship with God, we learn that we are never alone, abandoned. God is always with us. We can experience God in others. Of course we want all of that and so much more for our children. And so we lament their refusal to join us.

As I have thought about this, I heard God’s voice speaking in my heart. “Jan, what is Christian faith. I answered, “Following the “Way of Christ.” Then came the question, “What does that mean?”

I remembered that Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, and soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. These are the two greatest commandments.”

Jesus’ Way, has TWO prongs. Our children may not be willing to accept the first prong of Jesus’ way. They are not claiming faith in God in any form but when we look closely, they are living that second prong of Jesus’ “Way” sometimes even better than we do.

My one son, who has rejected religion in any form, lives the attributes of Jesus. He is kind and loving. He is accepting – of people of every race, color and faith. He cares about the environment, particularly the animals. He volunteers at animal shelters. He’s a committed vegetarian. In most of the places he and his family have lived, they have volunteered at orphanages as well. He shares what he has generously with others. Oh yes, he lives the “way of Christ,” better than many who profess Christianity in any of its forms.

I’m sure if each one of you look carefully at your children you will see that they too live the “way of Christ”. Some of the seeds of faith have taken root and blossomed beautifully. Yes, they haven’t accepted it all. Maybe they never will. Still they are, and always will be God’s beloved children. God is with them, caring for them. As Christians our job is not to change them or judge them. Our job is to love them, and to live the “way of Christ” ourselves. God will take care of the rest.

I take this one step further. Because every person in the world is God’s beloved child, regardless of faith or non-faith, our job is to love them. Our job is to be the best we can be on the path we follow. God will take care of the rest. And I am grateful.

“Do a Small Thing with Great Love.” (Mother Theresa)

 

Last month I stepped beyond words into commitment. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be my last. Still, it felt huge, exciting and scary. Over the last few months, I have written several articles about our need to respond as individuals to the Syrian refugee crisis. As a writer and speaker I know the value of words, but I’m aware that words must issue in action.

Being a woman of faith, I have read the words from the book of James 2:26, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” I know the value of showing my faith through my actions. It was time for me as an individual to live what I was preaching. I knew I couldn’t care for all of the refugees fleeing violence around the world. I knew I couldn’t care for all of the refugees that our government is bringing to Canada, or even to Peterborough. What I could do, and what Tom and I both did, was join with a group of twelve individuals, all of whom have pledged to support one government-arranged refugee family with practical action like transportation, finding housing, and friendship.

 Yes, this is only one family, one tiny drop in the ocean of refugees. As Mother Theresa so eloquently told us:

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

I am grateful to God, for leading me into this exciting new adventure.

 

“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:25)