Today we have Janine Rule and Matthew Denhom, representatives of Shenton Christian Council, with us to share about the very important work of Chaplaincy in our state schools in WA. It’s front line mission but with its wings clipped. School chaplains are not allowed to proselytize. However the Spirit of God can reach the hearts of people despite the restrictions. These men and women need our prayers and support.
During the week, I received some mail which outlined recent data on the social change and spiritual trends over the last four decades in Australia. One statistic stood out to me: Mums and dads are still the most influential in shaping faith in 15-29 years – 66% for mums and 57% the dads. Peers and friends come in at 19%.
Now that doesn’t really surprise me but it does reinforce to me how important it is that we, as parents, live out our faith in Jesus in transparent and authentic ways. If we don’t, can we really expect our children to come to know and follow Jesus? Our children are really our first disciples. They look to us in their early years with starry eyes for everything but, as the teenage and early adolescent years come, often with great vengeance. Our lives are really on show. Kids can pick a phoney and will pick up on our blind spots and hypocrisy and quickly jettison our words when not backed up by authentic life. They’ll still love us but they won’t follow us.
Whether we’re parents, grandparents, aunties or uncles, big brothers or sisters, best friends of families with children, what are you saying by the life you live out before them? And is it a life that the Lord Jesus would be chuffed about?
I am really thankful for the times my girls and Malcolm have challenged me, even though I’ve not found it easy to hear. Proverbs 27:17 says Just as iron sharpens iron, (so) a person sharpens the character of his friend. It has made me a better mum and I believe they become better people in doing so.
James sums it up well:
‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 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 1:22-25