I woke up this past Sunday feeling heavy, tired and unmotivated. And honestly, I wake up that way a lot.
On the energy scale of Eeyore to Tigger, I’m a notch or two above Eeyore. And my goal when I wake up is to just make it to the coffee pot. There, I usually catch myself spacing out, listening to the 2,000 thoughts nagging me to not forget to do this or that. When I realize I’m holding my breath, picking at the dry skin on my cuticles, I usually stop and exhale, “Have mercy on me Lord! Apart from you I can do nothing!” And I wait for some remembrance of God’s word that gives me hope.
This Sunday was like that. The 2,000 voice-secretaries reminding me of all the things drove me to plead with the Holy Spirit to remind me exactly why I get up on Sunday mornings early to go to church, sing with toddlers and hear the preaching of God’s word. This Sunday Moses came to mind.
In Deuteronomy 6, Moses reminds the people of God’s command to love him with all they are and to teach His ways to their children. And then in verse 20 through 23 it says:
“When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.” -Deuteronomy 6:20-23
This is what came to mind on Sunday when I couldn’t remember why I was up.
As a mom, kids ministry leader and member of my local church, I am responsible for more than myself. I’m responsible for those looking to me for leadership and the why behind what we do. And if I don’t have the why bubbling up out of me, I’m not going to be able to lead them in the why. That’s basically what Moses told the people. He told them first they had to love the Lord their God with all their heart; they had to have all God had done had for them on their hearts before they could ever teach it to their children.
As parents and leaders and members of the body of Christ, we need to know the why behind what we do so we can cast a vision for our kids and those we serve and minister to. Moses’ instruction in this passage in Dueteronomy is a good guide for remembering the why.
First, the reason we have church services, and small groups and classes for kids, and talk about the gospel, and the way of Jesus with our kids when we sit, walk and drive is because we were once slaves. Not in Egypt like the Israelites, but to sin. I was once a slave to my appetites that lead to death. But now I’m free. That’s why I gather with the local church corporately and in small groups and teach preschoolers the name of Jesus and talk with my kids about the love of Christ on the way to school.
Second, the reason we sing, and pray, and raise our hands, and clap, and celebrate special days, and have devotions with our kids despite the multiple interruptions and inconveniences is because the Lord brought us out of slavery to sin into the freedom of the children of God by the mighty act of bearing our sin in his body on a tree; absorbing the condemnation coming our way. That’s why we worship. Because Jesus has done a scandalously gracious thing for us.
Third, the reason we make plans, live missionally, seeking to lead others to Christ is because God has shown us his faithfulness. We’ve seen him change our hearts and give us new desires. We’ve tasted of his goodness and experienced his love. That’s why we plan special outreaches, and make phone calls to meet with strangers who are becoming friends about Jesus. That’s why we make a big deal out of the resurrection and invite our friends to follow Jesus with us. Because we’ve tasted, and we’ve seen that the Lord, he is good.
And we press on through our lives, and as a church throughout history, moving forward in the race set before us, eyes fixed on Jesus, looking for the day when he makes all things new, because He promised he would never leave us or forsake us. He promised to give us all we need to do what he calls us to. He promised to return. And we believe him.