Last Friday was a great day for me. We had a full week of revival and Friday night was our final night. A fantastic choir from a local church sang spirituals and that was followed up by a great message on the nature of Jesus Christ. But that’s not what made the night great. As we stood and sang our hymn of invitation I looked up to see my oldest daughter coming to the front. Immediately my mind went into ‘sappy commercial’ mode, and instead of seeing a beautiful pre-teen young woman, I saw Ellie as a toddler, taking her first steps in a new world. It took me a verse-and-a-half to regain enough composure to sing.
As we stood in the baptistry, I took her confession of faith, and I realized, I gave her the most valuable thing I could ever give. Just as my parents handed down their faith to me, and their parents handed down their faith to them, and their parents handed down their faith to them, I handed down my faith to my daughter. I know that it’s the Holy Spirit that convicted her heart, and that it was the blood of Jesus that washed away her sins, but the Bible places a high priority on parents teaching their children. In Deuteronomy 6 God instructs fathers to teach their children God’s statutes ‘as they rise up, as they eat, as they walk along the way.’ In other words, we are to teach our children as we do everyday things. Chores can teach responsibility. Repairing things can teach good stewardship. Meal time can teach family values. And woven through all of these there must be the word of God serving as the foundation.
So as my daughter came up out of the water, I welcomed her as my sister in Christ. I also realized, just as when a child is born, my work was just beginning. But it’s a work that I undertake with great joy, as I watch her become a young woman after God’s own heart.