Around Easter weekend Susan and I received a short video of our youngest granddaughter, three-year-old Lib, retelling the story of Jesus’ betrayal, death, and resurrection. Looking at the pictures in the child Bible storybook that her mother had been reading to her, Lib told the story in her own words.
Of Judas receiving money to betray Jesus, she said: “Would you pay me to capture Jesus?”
When she turned to the next page, featuring an image of Jesus on the Cross, she said: “He died on the Cross, and He died, and some of his friends they dressed up His body in the tomb.”
When she turned to a page detailing the resurrection, she said: “And the angel of the Lord came down from heaven and some friends with Mary came to the tomb and saw the angel who said, ‘Do not be afraid. God is alive. He has risen! So He is alive!”
There are a lot of reasons why I share this story; not the least being that Susan and I are proud grandparents! (This video is on IPHC General Superintendent on Facebook if you want to see it.) But we are also thankful because our son and his wife are taking time to teach their children the stories of the Bible.
I am keenly aware that the percentage of people in our pews who actually know the Bible is getting smaller. It’s a great shame on many levels.
I’m writing this column while attending the Third Global Gathering of the Global Christian Forum. The late Bishop James Leggett told me that his attendance at other Global Christian Forum events were the most inspiring and encouraging events he attended outside the denomination. One of the primary functions of this event is to bring Christians together from around the globe from the entire spectrum of Christianity that affirms the triune God and acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
I now understand why Bishop Leggett found this event so inspiring. The more than 200 delegates go into small groups where time is allotted to share their testimonies. It’s wonderful to hear the personal stories of other people and their walk with Jesus.
The group I met with had people from Albania, Germany, Switzerland, Tasmania, Poland, Brazil, Finland and the United States. Almost everyone began his testimony by referring to growing up in a Christian home.
One man spoke of the influence of his godly grandmother. Others shared of hearing the Word of God and prayers from a father and mother. One mentioned that his grandfather always read aloud a chapter of the Bible at the table following a meal. The family was not dismissed until the Bread of Life was read aloud!
I began my testimony by referencing my own Christian parents. I found my heart turned towards the IPHC core value of All Generations. How much do we as followers of Jesus value those who are coming after us, the children who are the future? Is our time and attention given to them whether they are our own biological children or not?
In connection with this issue of sharing the faith from one generation to the next, I’ve also been thinking about our core value of Generosity. Most of the time we think of money, and that is certainly part of it. But I’m finding myself thinking of generosity in more basic, relational expressions such as being generous with my time and my attention.
Among the most valuable resources of our lives is time. How do I spend my time? Who do I spend time with? What’s more valuable: Time engaging with someone about our faith, or doing what pleases me?
Time with someone requires attention, actually being present by listening, caring, sharing a burden or feeling the full effects of a laugh. Attention means I am present where my feet are. It means I’m not looking over someone’s shoulder to see who else is in the room during a conversation. It means giving that person “myself” as an expression of grace and love.
Time and attention are so valuable that Satan uses every tool possible to distract them. He uses our own needs to be heard rather than to listen. He uses the technological gadgets we carry in our hands and pockets. We have to battle spiritual attention deficit disorder to be present with God and with another person!
But the battle is worth it for the souls of people. So, please make time and give attention to those around you. Share your faith journey with Jesus. Tell the stories from the Bible. Be generous to others with your faith.
By Doug Beacham
This article was published in the May 2018 issue of Encourage.