It hurt down deep in my heart when a grandmother was telling me recently about her adopted grandchild. He’s a teenager now and all the things he loves to eat are the things you’d find in the door of the refrigerator. He loves butter and jars of peppers and ketchup and salad dressing and jelly.
Enquiring a little further, I found that the reason for his acquired tastes for the “fridge-door-foods” is that those jar foods were pretty much how he stayed alive during the early years of his life. Rescued from a home where the parents were addicted to drugs and neglectful of the child’s needs, the young child had eaten what he could reach—the stuff in the bottom of the refrigerator door.
While this is tragic and happens all too often, it occurs to me that we may have refrigerator-door-fed kids in a spiritual sense, too. Maybe there are those, even within our churches, who are spiritually malnourished; kids growing up in homes where there’s no significant provision made for a meaty diet of rich and soul-saving spiritual nutrition. If there’s no family Bible time, only sporadic prayers offered before meals, and no attention given to preparation for Bible classes on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, children are left to ingest only what’s available in other homes they may visit or the precious little that occurs in Sunday School. ( Bible class teachers are extremely limited in the time they are given with students.) When there are no Bible classes in the daily school, and the Deuteronomy 6:4-6 kind of parental teaching conversations are rare, then kids are going to make poor ethical and social decisions using underdeveloped and malnourished spiritual muscles. They’re learning from that to which they have access: usually television, peers, and school—a combination that, generally, fails at instilling spiritual values that can navigate to and through a life of faith that leads to heaven. Occasionally, someone else steps in with needed sustenance and children avoid spiritual disease and disaster, but, more often than not, spiritual refrigerator-door-kids don’t grow into faithful and godly adults. More often than not, their chances for heaven, as they emerge into adulthood, are just not great.
Of course, there are exceptions. And, yes, of course, a well-fed child can grow up and walk away from the good stuff, making choices to eliminate the substantial teachings of the Word and to substitute the ear-tickling subjectivism that permeates religion in our world today. But just because our babies could grow up and eat junk when they go away to college, would we just surrender their health, early on, and allow them to eat only the stuff in the door?
Quick take-away today:
Try this weekly family Bible time routine, for a month, for a more purposeful spiritual diet at your house:
Sunday: Souls….Think of someone your family knows who needs to know the Lord and have the children write out an invitation to an event at your congregation, an encouraging note, or a passage of scripture. Then pray, as a family, for this soul or family of souls. Work your way toward asking for a Bible study. Let the kids be a part of evangelism.
Monday: Memorization…Have the children learn one passage of scripture during this family time. Keep working till you can say it together. Be sure they know what it means. Start with verses for the steps of salvation. Be sure to ask them to repeat this verse throughout the week.
Tuesday: Test…make a game of testing your childrens’ memories about a familiar Bible account. Take turns asking each one a question (age-level appropriate) and keep score. Have a small prize for the winner. (…like the winner gets to stay up 15 minutes later and have strawberry milk!)
Wednesday: Worship…Have the children take turns choosing songs of praise and sing for fifteen minutes. Then repeat the memory verse and have one of them lead a closing prayer.
Thursday…Think. Begin at the beginning of the Bible at creation and relate the account of the first couple of days of creation. Have them think of an example of something you saw that very day that had its beginning right there on day one or two or three. Have them think of something you ate that would not have existed without that part of the creation. Have them think of those who do not use these blessings to His glory. What are some ways we do use these blessings for our God’s glory? Can they think of someone in Scripture who used these blessings in a bad way? (…like Esau and the pottage or like the rich fool who built bigger barns.) Each Thursday of the month, introduce new material and present scenarios for thought.
Friday: Foundations—Take your “What We Want Them to Know” list (https://thecolleyhouse.org/?s=what+I+want+them+to+know )and cover one thing on that list from some Biblical account. Hammer down the point at hand. Repeat your week’s memory verse.
Saturday: Service Day—Read a New Testament passage about salt or light or service or humility or feet washing (so many to pick from) and choose a service project ( a nursing home visit, making cards, making cookies for visitors, picking flowers for a lonely person, going to read the Bible to a blind person or making thank you letters for teachers, etc…). Pray for those you re serving.