Keith took Grayden out for dessert the night before his first day of Kindergarten for a Man- to-Little Man pep talk.
They ate chocolate chip pancakes and talked "real life" stuff.
Keith threw out school scenarios and they discussed how Grayden could and should respond. Keith highlighted Grayden's strengths and encouraged him to work hard in school at making them even stronger. They prayed together.
And Keith shared and discussed HIS favorite Bible verse as a kid growing up.
1 Timothy 4:12
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."
It's possible I've blogged about this verse before...at this point I struggle to remember. :)
Regardless, this is an extremely appropriate verse for school-age children as they begin the school year.
No matter their age, they are MORE than capable of spiritually leading their peers.
They can set an example in their SPEECH...saying words that are coated in respect and flavored with God's love and truth.
They can set an example in their LIFE...acting like Jesus to all their peers, regardless of their popularity.
They can set an example in their LOVE...treating others as God does with great compassion, grace, and mercy.
They can set an example in their FAITH...trusting God in all things, regardless of their circumstances.
They can set an example in their PURITY...walking with God and choosing His way.
Grayden went to his second day of Kindergarten yesterday morning and I wrote that verse on a sheet of paper and slipped it into a clear pouch on the back of his bookbag.
I had him read it to me and then he and I talked more about what it meant...especially in relation to school.
I emphasized to him that this verse is NOT about him being perfect, cause he WILL make mistakes. "Jesus is awesome, and its just hard to be that awesome."
But rather it's about living every day in light of God's grace and striving to be a shining light of Christ to those around him. "When people see how incredible Jesus is (through you)," I said, "they will want Him to be part of their lives as well. THAT, is setting an example."
As we drove to school I peered in my rearview mirror and saw him reading the words of that verse off his bookbag and reciting them quietly to himself. In that moment, I prayed they would sink in, matter to him, and guide him.
To ALL of you reading AND to your precious children...It's Friday! Another day to reflect Jesus in all that we do. And another day to set an example and make Jesus irresistable to others!
Jesus, You ARE irresistable. But there are countless times I fail to represent You well to my family, friends, even perfect strangers. Yet as I grow in my faith and relationship with You, I will trust in Your Word that You can use me to set an example for others. May the words of 1 Timothy 4:12 personally sink in, may they matter to me, and may they guide my every step.
And for my children, I pray their youth would not be a stumbling block to their witness. But rather, I pray you would show them how to set an example for others in their speech, life, love, faith, and purity. May their words be flavored with Your love and truth. May their life reflect You in action. May they love as You do with compassion, grace, and mercy. May their faith sustain them in all circumstances and demonstrate the JOY that results in trusting You. And may they walk purely with you, choosing Your way over and over again. I pray the words of 1 Timothy 4:12 WOULD sink in and guide them from grade K through grade 12, and even further onto their college years and beyond.