The vital role of a father and mother (grandparents included) in conveying a missional life for their children cannot be too strongly emphasized.
Most children look up to, admire and follow in their parents’ footsteps. What you value they will value. What you have a passion for they will have a passion for.
What can we do to embed the Great Commission into the DNA of our children that they may have a lifelong passion for that which is the passion of King Jesus?
1) Be incarnational in your parenting (2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:5-11).
Pioneer missionary David Livingston said, “This generation can only reach this generation. But will we raise our children to effectively impact their generation for Jesus Christ?”
The incarnation was a manifestation of God’s redemptive love for His world. Our incarnational love for our children models God’s love and communicates our love for them. To know and love them well, we have to be with them, working hard to see life as they see life. We have to invade their world like Jesus invaded ours.
2) Love well your mate (Ephesians 5:25; Titus 2:4).
Another pioneer missionary, Adoniram Judson, wrote in a letter to his wife Ann, “If such exquisite delights as we have enjoyed … with one another [are] allowed to sinful creatures on earth, what must the joys of heaven be?” (Marvin J. Newell, ed., “Expect Great Things: Mission Quotes That Inform and Inspire, p. 92).
Children should learn about God’s love for the nations by the way they see their parents love one another. They should see the Gospel and the atoning work of Christ put on glorious display in an Ephesians 5 kind of way.
3) Spend time with your children (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).
The parents of Hudson Taylor believed, “At no [other] time is there greater capacity for devotion, or more pure, uncalculating ambition in the service of God” (quoted in “The Mission-Minded Child” by Ann Dunagan, preface).
Apparently Hudson Taylor’s parents took the time early in his life to instill such devotion in Hudson. At the tender age of 5, Hudson declared, “When I am a man, I mean to be a missionary to China” (Dunagan, Mission-Minded Child, preface). And, we all know the rest of the story!
Fathers, what kind of projection of the heavenly Father are you giving to your children through the time you invest in them?
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Danny Akin is president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. This article is excerpted from his message at the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood sessions in conjunction with Together for the Gospel’s mid-April biennial conference.