Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Psalm 127:4 ESV
I had the privilege of taking my boys to the Catapult retreat at Sandy Cove this past weekend. We had a blast! On Sunday morning, Nate shared a devotional with the group that really impacted me and brought clarity to the weekend. He walked through Psalm 127 and stressed the importance of shaping our children as arrows. We had participated in both regular archery and archery tag the day before, so everyone understood the importance of a straight, well fletched arrows. Just as a warrior would want excellent arrows, so we as Dads had an opportunity to mold excellent sons.
In the days since Catapult, I’ve been meditating on this concept. Perhaps every hour I spend with my boys (or any of my children for that matter) contributes toward their eventual shape. Left to themselves, my children will turn toward their sinful bent. However, as I consistently model the gospel of Christ before them, perhaps they will embrace the gospel and be like arrows in the hand of a warrior. What does it look like to model the gospel? For starters: unconditional love, constant forgiveness, grace, mercy, discipline and justice. It means helping them see the sin in their lives, but then leading them to Jesus Christ as the only way to overcome sin. It means never tiring of hearing their cries, but always pointing them to Christ rather than meeting their needs on my own.
What about you? If you have children, are you taking every opportunity to shape them with the gospel? My oldest is 12 which means two-thirds of my shaping time (and perhaps my most influential shaping) is already over. Now I can only make minor corrections as he prepares to launch. While a scary thought, God’s grace is great, and I found the weekend encouraging me to stay focused on the shaping of my sons. That’s spiritual formation….for me and them!