I am wearing an old green t-shirt this morning that Joy always liked. It reminds me of the days when she was learning colors and she would always point out that “Nana’s shirt is green.” She was so proud of herself for it, and of course, so was I. God has been nudging me about the example I am before her. For instance, the image that accompanies this devotional. Before covid, I taught a weekly Bible study for the women on the campus where I work. My daughter-in-law would come and of course, Joy came with us. She was just starting to cruise and would move from person to person around the chairs that kept her corralled. She stopped at my knee that morning and was listening intently to me teach. Her mommy snapped the picture and it serves as a constant reminder that she always is watching me and learning from me – whether I am intentionally teaching her or not. That’s a huge responsibility, one I don’t take lightly.
The Lord pressed that point home to the Israelites when Moses taught them God’s Law and how important their daily lives were. He told them: “The [these words] to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut 11:19). In other words, in everything you do all throughout your day, be a walking, talking, living, breathing testimony to the Lord God.
What happens when we don’t? When the Jews returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity and resettled the city, Nehemiah discovered that “half of their children spoke . . . the languages of other people and did not know how to speak the language of Judah” (Neh 13:24). Sound familiar? And I’m not talking about linguistics – I’m talking about the language of truth, righteousness, and holiness. The language of God. The children didn’t know the language of Judah because the generations before them fell into speaking the languages around them so that they might fit in. Again – sound familiar?
This is not just a parenting/grandparenting message. The same applies to the church’s influence – or lack thereof – on the culture. We cannot represent Christ to the world if we sound just like them. Everything about us should speak Jesus. Because, like Joy, someone is watching and listening – whether you realize it or not. Beloved, what are they seeing and hearing in you?