Family disciple-making: As you go…

by Mark Smith
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 | 18 days old

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses delivered his farewell sermon to the children of Israel. Just prior to the Israelites crossing the Jordan River and entering into the Promised Land, Moses gave specific instructions from God to ensure a long and prosperous life in the new land.

Located in the verses known as the Shema, Moses makes a simple statement. He says, “Impress them on your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7 NIV).

This may appear to be a short phrase with little meaning, but a deeper look into the word “impress” may surprise you.

The Hebrew word Moses uses that the NIV translates “impress” is shanan. According to Allan Moseley, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, “shanan means to sharpen as you would sharpen a sword.” Moseley describes Moses’ use of shanan in Deuteronomy 6:7 as unique. He says, “This is the only place in Scripture where shanan is used this way. God is commanding parents to start at home and intentionally sharpen their children with His Word.”

After Moses commands parents to “impress” God's Word into the lives of their children, he gives instruction on how to make that happen within the daily rhythms of life. He says, "Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Deuteronomy 6:7b).

What is Moses describing? As the primary disciple-makers of the home, the Lord has given parents the privilege to engage children intentionally with spiritual conversations “as you go” through each day.

Moses simply tells parents to “talk” to their children. That is simple enough, but the big pushback for parents is “when.” Moses strategically maps out a simple framework that fits into every family’s daily schedule. Within the rhythm of each day, we sit at home, drive down the road, go to bed and get up the next morning.

Scripture gently gives us instruction to be intentional with our time. Therefore, as you sit at home, talk about last week’s Sunday School lesson. While you ride down the road in the minivan, talk about the pastor’s sermon he preached last weekend. When you’re getting ready for bed, talk to your children about something you saw God do in your life that day. Even in the rush of getting ready for a new day, you can share what the Lord taught you during your quiet time that morning.

The Lord has entrusted you with the wonderful privilege and opportunity of leading your children to a saving knowledge of His Son and to help them mature as a follower of Christ. To do this, God has given you more than enough power and wisdom through the Holy Spirit to be the disciple-maker your children need. He simply asks you to be intentional with each day He provides. Mom and dad, rest assured, you can do this!

Editor’s note: Mark Smith serves as the senior consultant for family evangelism and discipleship with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.