What does it mean to have faith passed down? We are all unique individuals, with our own God-given gifts for us to reveal and present to society. With that said, we are also the products of our parents/guardians, for our behaviors are molded to a degree by those who had the most influence upon us during our formative years. The very practices parents engage in, whether good or bad, can be absorbed into future behaviors of our children. These behaviors include the faith practices we have ingrained into our children. A few of these good practices include praying with our children and reading the Bible with them, as well as regularly attending worship. If our kids do not see their role models engaging in faith practices, how do we expect them to pick it up on their own?
Paul brings up this topic of faith formation in the 2 Timothy passage by commenting how Timothy’s mother and grandmother were an important factor in the faith development of one of his most highly regarded students, his apostle and successor Timothy. “I am reminded of your most sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and now, I am sure, lives in you.” There are many activities our children do that keep the calendar full and make them well-rounded in order to be successful in life. However, let’s not forget the importance of their faith formation and of making room for God in their busy schedule. By creating healthy faith practices early on, our children will have the necessary skills to know how to connect with God during the ups and downs of life.
The Rich Man & Lazarus –Luke 16:19-31
We spend a good amount time at church talking about caring for one another, especially those who might be challenged with illnesses, disabilities and economic strife. This week our text from Luke is a parable about a rich man who ignored the needs of a poor man named Lazarus (not to be confused with the Lazarus of Bethany who Jesus raised from the dead.). When Lazarus died, he went directly to heaven to be by the side of the prophet Abraham. However, when the rich man died, he was sent to suffer eternity in Hades. The rich man looked up to see all the goodness Lazarus was receiving in heaven, and he questioned why he must suffer and be tormented, while the poor man enjoyed the treasures of heaven? Abraham made it very clear to the rich man that Lazarus had suffered a great deal in life, while he had lived it up with many comforts and had good things. It is important to understand the parable is not about salvation, but rather how we take care of those with various challenges in life. At Westminster, we have people from all walks of life, from various places in the world. Our members include people with a variety of social and economic statuses to individuals challenged with disabilities. Our backgrounds are vast, and some of us are newer to church than others. However, we come together to praise God and serve in Jesus’ name. As we move about the community this week, be prayerful of welcoming everyone, for we are all deserving of God’s love.
Children typically have an understanding of lost and found. Parents have been there before when a favorite toy suddenly goes missing and our lives go upside down and all around until the missing toy is among the found again. Our text focuses upon two parables about seeking what is lost. The first is the shepherd who leaves his ninety-nine sheep to bring back the one that strayed away. The second is about a woman who exhaustively searches her entire home for a single lost coin. Both stories elaborate the importance of ministering to those who are among the lost in our society. Often times those who are lost are living on the fringes and we might feel uncomfortable reaching out to them for one reason or another. Jesus ate with the sinners and tax collectors to show that we are all deserving of God’s love. What are practices that you can do to show examples of this kind of extravagant love to show our children how to safely reach out to those in need?