Fathers Fanning the Flames of Faith

Description

Dennis Rainey explains how building a simple fire pit in the backyard can be key to building the spiritual condition of our children.

Barbara and I have been blessed with six children. Sitting in the auditorium the afternoon that our youngest, Laura, graduated from high school, my heart swelled with a mixture of delight and sadness. Sure, I was thrilled at her accomplishment. But my mind couldn't let go of the fact that it was just yesterday when I, the proud daddy, held Laura in my arms for the first time. As she walked across the stage to receive her diploma, I remembered when she took her first steps. As she adjusted her cap and gown, I recalled her first day she played dress-up. Talk about a bittersweet moment.

Sometime later I was thinking about the implications of her graduation. A school official had handed Laura a diploma certifying she had completed her studies. She had learned her lessons well. She was ready to move on. Or was she?

Actually, yes. While I knew that piece of paper wouldn't sustain her when the storms of life thundered in, Barbara and I worked hard to instill in her something that would: a heart for Jesus. And you know what? One of the single best things I did as a father to enhance her spiritual heritage, as well as that of each of our children, might surprise you. I built a fire pit.

That's right. A good, old-fashioned campfire pit in our backyard. The kids loved to sit on a log or on a stone around the flames as we'd swap stories, share the Scriptures, talk about the day, or sing a favorite song. With the crickets adding their serenade, we'd roast hotdogs, marshmallows and occasionally s'mores.

One thing is sure. Those countless visits to the campfire sparked the fire of faith that burned brightly in Laura's eyes as she walked the aisle.

How about you? Do you want to pass along your faith, your values, and your heart for God to your children? Why not consider something as "low tech" as a campfire?  As the Apostle Paul said, "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you" (2 Timothy 1:6a).

A week after her graduation I stood by the fire pit and pondered: The days of fanning the flames of our children's faith are not over—it's just a new season. Our children will never lose their need to be cheered on in the race of life by their parents. I pray that my life "glows" as one who continually points them back to the Savior.

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