April 9, 2011

You are Contagious

"Because it would be so easy for me to be a missionary, I don't think God wants me to be one," said Esther, who grew up on the mission field in Africa. We were attending a missions conference where I suspected that many people were secretly thinking, "Being a missionary would be so hard for me. Therefore, God will probably call me to the mission field."

Although I didn't agree with Esther's logic, I did think her parents were to be commended for raising her with such a positive view of ministry life. What a household that must have been! The parents loved God and willingly served Him in a foreign country. Their attitudes made missions seem attractive to their daughter.

Although we are blessed with a daughter who is married to a pastor and a son who is a pastor, we didn't insist that they go into full-time Christian ministry. I don't think God has that plan for every preacher's or missionary's kid. It was very important to my husband and I that our children glorified God in whatever career He had for them. In addition, our desire was for them to love the Church and be involved in it. When we had ministry challenges, we tried to handle them without resentment and in a way that set a good example for our children. We realized that the way we approached what God called us to do could be contagious to the kids. If you have similar goals for your children, please consider these questions.

Conduct an Attitude Check. How often do you convey that it is a privilege to serve God? Are you thankful for His work in your life? Do you demonstrate to your children that the happiest place to be is right where God wants you to be?

Pray with and for your children. Do your children hear you asking for God's forgiveness? Can you show them that you rely on God's help to resist sin and solve problems? Do you seek God's guidance together in prayer?

Love the Church. Does your child see that those you minister to are a joy and not a burden? Are you positive about worship services, teaching times and fellowship? Do your words and actions serve to build up other believers?

Love the Child. Is your home a haven of stability and support for your children and their concerns? Do they have the sense that being a loving, caring parent is an important God-given ministry? Can your children see that they are a priority by the time and attention that you give them?

May our children be drawn to following Jesus by what we say and do. As for Esther, she did heed God's call on her life and became a missionary to Africa with her husband. She is still serving God today.


  1. I struggle to have wisdom here. My four-year-old says: "Hmmmm. . .I'm either going to be a basketball player or a pastor when I grow up." He's only four!, but I can't decide whether to be low-key: "sweetie, whatever you do will be great!" or to try to communicate the huge blessing of ministry life: "being a pastor is one of the best jobs in the world!" Thoughts?

  2. I've observed that some pastors have been "done in" by the grumbling of their wives. I give a lot of credit, in God's mercy, to Patsy's attitude toward the things of God that conveyed a faithful rather than bitter attitude toward ministry. I think, by God's mercy, our children "caught" that attitude as well.
    Guess who is writing this comment?

  3. Megan, With a 4-year-old, I would emphasize that we need to please God in all that we do. When it is time to choose a vocation, he will have lots of practice in seeking God's face about many things. Your child's career is a long way off and many interests will change in the process. Remember your own desire to be a dolphin trainer who evangelized those who came to see the dolphin shows?


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