I think I’ve used the Shema here before as a prompt for connecting with the church through the newsletter, but to be fair, for thousands of years Jewish people were to repeat this same passage daily. So, I hope you’ll forgive me if I’ve been redundant. I cannot think of a better time of the year to establish a game plan for household worship.
“Hear O Israel: The LORD our God is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I’ve commanded you this day shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall bind them as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9, ESV (Emphasis added)
First, I want to acknowledge that some of the greatest influencers in the next generation's lives are not their parents, so if you do not have children, I believe this verse still applies to the entire church. I believe this because it was declared to all the children of Israel as they gathered.
One phrase stands out to me at this goal-setting time of the year. “You shall teach them diligently...”
To be honest, in an effort to remain connected and not feel I’ve ever shamed anyone (myself included) I tend to connect with parents by providing the easiest route of discipleship in the home. By saying, "even if you don’t have a formal time, at least try this or that." But, let’s take a moment to confess. If we are not doing this diligently in the home, then we are doing this wrong.
A few poignant synonyms for diligent include: rigorous, careful, exacting, persevering, committed, active, driven, hard-working, constant, careful, tireless, thorough, dedicated...
Antonyms for the same: lazy or casual
In your homes or in your relationships, are you teaching the words the Lord has given through His Word diligently? Even if your home is just yourself right now, how diligently are you focusing on His commands?
The encouragement I find is that we are a community, a family of faith. We’re all in this together, just as the Israelites heard this command together in a community setting. Spur one another on in this. I love the model provided right here within the Shema, to talk of them when you sit in your house, go down the road, when you’re getting up and going to bed! Four very natural times for every human life. I also think, at the start of a new year is a great time to establish what family worship will be like. Will your family read or pray the Word together along with the church’s plan? Will you learn a new hymn every month? Will you serve together? Will you memorize certain verses together? Lazy or casual would not create a plan; but diligent would.
I’ve just begun training for a marathon I will complete before my 30th birthday later this year, if the Lord allows. The hilarious irony is that a decade ago, I posted on Facebook that I was beginning to train for a marathon. I do not even recall ever intending to run a marathon before. And I certainly didn’t train with intention, register for one, or finish a marathon. I know that myself at that age had great high hopes and no rigor, no planning, no diligence to get it done. On the contrary, I have mapped out this year of running pretty thoroughly and know when I’ll be running each long run and am a month into following the plan. I know which race I want to run and when to register. Of course, just like with spiritual disciplines, there are many plans out there already created. I just had to find one, write it down, and show up to do it. The question is – will you find or create a plan for family discipleship, and will you stick to it?
As it’s often been said, freedom comes through discipline. I’m praying for all of the Believers at Woodmont to start the year disciplined in order to find freedom to share faith and live a godly life. Within the context of families, to discover the freedom to have Biblical spiritual conversations regularly with the family and in the community.