Raising World-ChangersHow do we shape our kids into world changers who are used of God to build His kingdom?
"Who wants a bedtime story?" I asked.
"I do!" shouted our six-year-old daughter. "Me, too!" called her sister. "Me three!" echoed her brother. The kids raced to the family room and jumped onto the couch.
Serving others helped our kids see beyond themselves. But we could do something more …
This was no ordinary bedtime story. Rather, it was a true tale set in Nepal. The storyteller? He was special, too. He'd invested nearly 30 years of his life in that land. Despite the disease and dangers he'd endured, his eyes sparkled as he described Nepalese men and women embracing God's Word.
The man's enthusiasm captivated our kids' interest and prompted them to eagerly ask him questions. Their response stirred my heart. How will God use my children to build His kingdom? I wondered. Will they serve Him overseas, immersed in a foreign culture? Will they remain in North America, shining as lights in a secular workplace? Whatever their future holds, how can I help mold them into world changers?
As I pondered the latter question, one thought came swift and clear. Teach them to think beyond themselves and their own needs. World changers, like the storyteller, follow Christ's example through service. They practice kindness and are willing to sacrifice convenience and comfort for another's sake.
Countless service opportunities surrounded us at that time, albeit on a simple scale. When missionary families on furlough stayed with us, our kids shared their bedrooms with the children. We provided transportation to Sunday school and mid-week kids' club for children who wanted to attend but whose parents couldn't take them. On scorching summer days, we invited friends from far and wide to invade our lakefront home. When a pregnant mom was ordered to bed rest, we delivered meals and drove her children to school. When an acquaintance's husband deserted her, we invited her family for dinners and table games. We purchased fabric and sewed a dress for a girl whose single mom couldn't afford to buy her one.
Serving others helped our kids see beyond themselves. But we could do something more: pray for our children's spiritual well-being. Frankly, sometimes I felt like a parrot with a limited vocabulary: "Lord, bless my kids." My sentiments seemed so generic. But things improved when we began praying God's Word. Specific Scriptures addressed our concerns.
Because we wanted our children to exemplify Christ, Philippians 2:3-8 became a favourite prayer guide: "God, teach our children to humbly consider others better than themselves. May they look not only to their own interests, but also to the interests of others." We also asked the Lord to bless our kids, not necessarily with wealth or fame or an easy life, but so that His way would be known on Earth and His salvation among all nations (see Psalm 67:1-2).
God honoured our efforts and answered our prayers. More than a decade after that unforgettable bedtime story, our eldest boarded a ministry ship to participate in God's work around the world. As I write this, the ship sits in hurricane-devastated Grenada, its crew building shelters for the homeless. The second, a Bible college sophomore, hopes to teach English overseas after graduation. The third, now 18, spent three weeks teaching Bible clubs in Mexico last summer. She plans to return.
Raising world-changers begins at home. From there, only God knows—and that's exciting!
Grace Fox lives on the west coast of B.C. where her husband is the program director at a Christian camp. The mother of three children, Grace has chronicled her journey of trust in two devotional books entitled 10-Minute Time Outs for Moms and 10-Minute Time Outs for Busy Women. Her website is: www.gracefox.com.
Originally published in Sunday Magazine, 2006.
Used with permission of author. Copyright © 2006 Christianity.ca.