Last February I wrote that I had managed to read whole of the Bible to my son, J.There are 64 chapters in his Lion First Bible, and I read one to him each night. J is now 3.5 years old. This evening I had the privilege of finished reading the Bible to him once again: for the 7th time. Over that period I am fortunate enough to have missed just one evening’s Bible reading, when my wife read it to him instead. (I have read only 444 days, but 7 x 64 chapters = 448. I guess we must gave skipped a few stories somewhere – probably before we got the monkey-shaped bookmark). Thankfully, J shows no signs of tiring of the stories – so I have no intention of stopping reading them to him yet. I trust that, one day, these readings will bear fruit in his life.
However, this is all very well, but an important question remains:
J hears these stories, but does he see me living the Christian life? It is true that children do learn by word, but they learn so much more from our actions. If J does not see me living out what I read from the Bible, what will be the effect? At best, they will just be stories to him. At worst, he will grow up to view Christ-likeness a hollow, worthless pursuit. He may value the Church as an opportunity for social advancement or as a chance to enjoy great activities or play cool music, but he will miss the heat of the Gospel, and may even learn to despise what he perceives as its emptiness.
Herein, then, lies my greatest challenge: to live a life worthy of my words, or to have the integrity to stay silent and put J’s Bible away for good. I earnestly pray for the courage to give this Christ-life a shot – for now I have no intention of giving up our Bible time.