Ministering in the home is vitally important if we want our children to be children of the covenant. As shepherdess/clergy families, we must take seriously our commitment to working together as parents to care for our little ones.
As a parent I have found myself ministering in the home in various ways. Through Bible story-telling, I am able to teach my children the value of obedience, truthfulness, patience and kindness. I constantly endeavor to "make home a little heaven on earth."
My efforts to evangelize the children have not been without challenges. Perhaps you can relate to some of the stories below.
We stared singing to our children when they were just a few days old. In fact, the picture of Jesus was introduced to Faith, our daughter, shortly after she was born. When Faith turned two, her father began telling her a story that demonstrated Jesus' love. He explained that Jesus is always inviting His people to Him. Towards the end of the story he showed Faith the picture of Jesus and said, "Jesus is stretching His hands and is inviting you to come to Him." Faith was so touched that she stood up and said, "I want to go to Jesus now. Tell me how."
At this, her father and I became tongue-tied. We realized Faith's genuine cry needed to be answered. Her father took Faith into his arms and promised he would answer her question the next day. We prayed for the words to answer our precious two-year-old and we realized the importance of evangelizing to our young daughter at an early age. Jesus was real to her and she wanted to be with Him.
Apart from lecturing to our children about heaven and its beauties, we are striving to make our home a little heaven on earth in the way we relate to one another in our conduct and conversation. We want to do nothing that will make them doubt the sweetness, reality and beauty of heaven. Ours is the work of consolidating what the Sabbath School and Adventurer teachers have taught them and to ensure that they put into practice the good things learned.
The unexpected occurrence of a fire at out home on October 10, 1996, gave us the opportunity to teach our children about the second coming, about heaven and the destruction that is going to he here when Christ comes.
We were dressed in our work clothes when the fire began. Two of our children did not even have shoes on and Tino's trousers were torn. Once the fire began, we immediately ran out of the house. As we were watching the blazing house, I turned to my children and said, "Jesus will come unexpectedly just like the fire did. How will you feel if the state of your heart is like the state of your dress today?" It was a good analogy for the kids and they immediately threw the question back to me.
When they questioned why God would allow the fire incident, I said, "Do not think that bad things will only happen to others. Instead we must be prepared for the pain by living in faith and gratitude to God each day. Also, it is important to realize that God will be with us in the middle of our trials and problems. He will comfort and lead us." God's way may not be easy but it is the best. Our response should he to trust and obey.
We have stressed the importance of giving to God and mankind. We have made our kids believe that if one gives to God a tenth of his income, his resources will never dry. And it has worked. Faith and Tino have tried to be faithful in their tithes and offerings and since then they have never had their coffers dry. This has increased their trust in God. After discussing the importance of giving to the needy, our children began giving a small amount of money to the blind in our community. One day as we passed through town, I overheard them whispering to one another, "Why doesn't Mum give to the blind?" I realized I had not been exemplary. I had told my children of the importance of giving but I had not been an example to them. I realized that ministering is not "do as I say" but rather "do as I teach." By the example we set we exert an influence that will not be banished from our little ones' minds.
Our daughter Faith has an angel stuck on her coat-bed. She knows the importance of guardian angels and realizes the good angels do. Yet she has questions we will soon have to grapple with. After reading the story about Passover, she and her brother took some red food coloring and marked the door. They had inscribed these words above the door. "Please angel, do not kill us or me?' God, in His wisdom, will help me answer the questions my children ask. The work of ministering at home has just begun.
To avoid misreading them by wrong examples, home should not be the place to discuss people, be they church leaders or members. Children should not overhear conversations about others as this may breed a hatred and lack of trust and faith within them regarding the church and its members.
I want to challenge you moms and dads, minister to your children while they are still young before those years come when they are unpredictable, defiant and moody. The younger they are, the sweeter and more compliant they are. So minister to them in song and Bible story telling. Create a Christ-like home environment where the angles love to be. Be exemplary in your speech, your dress and your deportment. And when all is said and done, we may proudly say to Christ, "Here are the children that you entrusted into my hands, so that also it may be said, thou good and faithful servant. You've been faithful in little things. Enter now into the joy of your Lord."