In his book, Forgotten God, Francis Chan asks the question, how much do you love the church?
I read this with interest and thought about some things that are really disturbing to me. Recently, my son was called a bible thumper in youth group. It made me laugh, although my son was angry about it, but it was a funny statement coming from within the church. I laughed because it’s true! He is a bible thumper and his questions and study make me smile.
We read the bible at our house and we discuss it and we teach it and we try very hard to live it. Although, yeah, with teenagers we sometimes find ourselves defending and explaining ideals that they often find old-fashioned to our culture today. What was meant as a put-down wasn’t in my eyes because it’s our job to teach the bible to our kids. We love the church that much! Not even because we are pastors either. We loved the church before we were in ministry. We are friends of the groom, called to serve his bride and prepare her for a wedding. This is why I love the picture above so much. The people in the picture are caring for every detail of the bride in preparation!
What happens though when the church doesn’t know she’s getting married? I have a friend who is faithful to her church attendance. Her children are in Sunday School each Sunday. Get beyond the basics of Sunday School and her kids know nothing really about the word of God. They can’t pray cognitively for a meal or for themselves or others. Should not love for the church begin at home? I spoke to this issue with her. What I realized was to raise a bible thumper you really have to believe the bible. You have to know it, you have to read it. A thousand sermons at your left hand and ten thousand at your right, makes you no more an effective witness if you don’t know your word. How can your family stand against the trials of the world if they do not know the word or who the bride is beyond a mere acquaintance? So what is the fruit of our testimony? Is it not in part our children and our life? Does it matter that the people who I call friends and co-workers come to ask me to pray for them but my kids live like hell? How much do I love the church? It shows first in my life. No not one of us is perfect nor do any of us have the perfect family, I certainly don’t. I want to try to do better. I want to love the church so much that television or tiredness or overwork doesn’t cause me to forsake my family. I don’t want to depend on the little songs from childhood Sunday School to get my kids through. I want to be active and engaged in their education. I want them to know that I love God not just with my lips but with my action and my advancement of the kingdom in their lives. I ask what my kids are reading in their bibles, and no it’s not the only thing they read. We discuss viewpoints and my bible thumper has some deep thoughts that you’d never know about unless you ask. Bible study is not just for the pastor’s kids, it’s for everyone who loves the church.