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Jan 2009

Doing or Being?

Grammar lesson: a noun is a thing; an adjective is a descriptive word.

When we talk about the mission of the church—indeed the mission we want to see engaging our children—we need to consider whether our focus is the noun or the adjective.  Do we want our children to do missions or to be mission-minded?  It might seem like semantics, but the distinction is important in parenting.

Doing is primarily about establishing identity.  Whether it is a secular sense (doing service for the community) or a Christian sense (doing missions,) we have an identity at stake.

Is there any Biblical basis for doing?  Does the Bible tell us that we ought to do good things?  In fact, yes.  James 4:17 says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”  Then there is no hope for any of us being good.  We are all condemned to fail—to flounder in desperate need of a Savior.  But can we save ourselves by trying to do better things?

Sadly, no.  No amount of community service can atone for our sins.  Missions will not redeem our souls.  It’s all caulking the cracks on the Titanic.  As long as we hang our identities on what we do, we will fall dreadfully short.

As parents, we ought to teach our children that our stance before God does not depend on doing good things.  The ways in which we engage in God’s mission are our life’s response to His saving us.  Instead of rearing our children to do good things, we need to rear them with an eye to what they will become.  One of the “becoming” things we will discuss on this blog is becoming mission-minded.


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