“Play ball!” I watched as my son Connor took the field to play in the Dixie Youth World Series. I had coached him all year and talked baseball nearly every day. We worked on drills outside in the backyard, practiced a lot, and learned rules as we sat on the couch watching baseball. Now he would have the chance to play in a tournament all the dads in the stands dreamed about playing in and to compete for a crown coveted by all Little League baseball players.
I was drenched in sweat after hauling in what seemed like a full tailgate setup, complete with tent, chairs, cooler, portable fan — and a 3-year-old little brother! Despite a fairly busy schedule, I had missed only one game during the season, and nothing would keep me from cheering him on in the most important games of the year.
You would never guess that my son sometimes suffers from domestic abuse.
It’s true. You see, in all of the excitement and late-night games of the past week of tournament play, I neglected to crack the Bible open once with my sons. My prayers with them were limited to a few just before our meal. Sure, we talked about life lessons from the games on the ride home, but I did not take the responsibility of making sure they were hearing from their Heavenly Father that week.
One of the worst forms of domestic abuse is neglect — spiritual neglect. In an effort to provide everything for our families, some of the blue-ribbon moms and dads neglect their children spiritually. They get consumed in work and family activity and neglect to do the one thing that is most important: model and train them to follow Jesus. Moms and dads discipline their children but neglect to disciple them.
It is not the responsibility of the church to disciple your children. That responsibility falls directly on the shoulders of the parents, according to Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Think about it: If they received only one hour of instruction practicing for a sport or learning math, how good would they be at either one?
We will rearrange our entire lives so that our children and grandchildren have all the opportunities in life, but we’ll neglect to provide them with the Gospel that will transform their life.
Our country is reflective of a nation filled with individuals who have suffered spiritual domestic abuse. It’s no wonder that professing Christians hold views contrary to what the Scripture teaches. They’ve never read it!
If you love your children and grandchildren, stop neglecting them spiritually. Be intentional about reading Scripture with them. Take opportunities to instruct them as you model a life that follows Jesus. Let them go with you as you serve others. Pray with them in times of trouble and in times of gladness. Your children need your spiritual instruction more than learning how to take a stick and hit a ball.
Challenge them to share the Gospel as much as you do.
I’d love to continue the conversation, but I have some spiritual work with my boys to catch up on. How about you?
Lee Clamp, Director of Evangelism