Thursday, June 23, 2011

humbled by an (almost) 8-year-old

“1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)

In our home, nap time is a critically important time for everyone. With four children under eight (and one on the way), it is no understatement to say that it is almost more important for parental sanity than it is for the demeanor and physical needs of our younger children. A difficult situation presented itself about a year ago when our eldest no longer needed a regular nap in order to make it through the day.

My wife did a few things to augment Micah’s (my eldest child) nap time, one of which was to make sure that he would read his Bible for either a certain length of time or until he finished a full chapter before reading other books, playing Angry Birds on my iPod, or whatever. So this has been his pattern for quite some time. For a while he was trying to read through the Bible in a year, but he found that too big of a challenge for his reading abilities. But rather than get discouraged, he continued to read and usually chose his sections on his own.

I began noticing that he would tell us that he read Psalm 117 quite regularly. It wasn’t until he informed me that Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the whole Bible (only two verses) that I began to get a little suspicious.

“Hey, if I’ve got to read one chapter (even a few times each day), why not make it the shortest one so that I can do other fun stuff.” That was what I imagined his thought process to be – it would likely have been my own in his position. So, one day last week I decided to talk to Micah about it and told him that he should read more than the shortest chapter.

To my shock – and my extreme joy – he said that he’s been memorizing it. So, I opened up his Bible, and asked him to recite it for me. And he did. And he did it almost word for word perfectly. Not for Awana shares, trips to the kids’ prize box, or any other external reward offered to him – but because he wanted to.

Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 117)

And when I asked him about this, he said that he’d already moved on to the next shortest chapter (another Psalm) and was working to memorize it.

What sheer joy this brings to my heart.

As a father, my hope and desire is for my children’s salvation. My hope and desire is that their new birth would be evident by many things, one of which is their desire to know God, His Word, and to serve Him.

I am overjoyed at my son’s initiative, implementation, and continuation of his own devotional plan that fits his personality and his abilities.

I am deeply humbled and challenged by my son’s initiative, implementation, and continuation of his own devotional plan – especially as it comes to memorization – because it shows me just how much better I could be doing.

Soli Deo Gloria

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