He had a very concerned look on his face.
We had talked about this kind of thing before. A lot. This time was different. He wasn’t going to settle for answers to his questions. Something had to be done. Now.
“Dad, I need to know how to repent of my sins and believe in Jesus.”
“Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the grave like we talked about?”
“Well, now you just ask. Jesus told people to repent and believe in the gospel so you need to pray and ask him to forgive you of your sins.”
My son ran away into the woods to pray.
He came back a new creature.
This happened almost two years ago and I’ve wrestled against a temptation almost every day since then. The temptation is to think that my job is over. My kid has repented of his sins and put his faith in Christ. One down, one to go.
Jesus’ last commandment in the Gospel of Matthew always brings me back to reality.
This commandment is just as relevant for parents in the United States as it is for missionaries in China.
The day that my son became my brother was really the day that my work had just begun. Jesus didn’t tell me to get my son to say a prayer. He told me to make a disciple out of him.
This means that if I want him to live in total submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ like I pray for every night, I better be living in total submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ. It means that along with telling him how important it is to love Jesus and others, I need to be showing him as well. And later on in life, when our schedule gets more chaotic, I need to show him with my time that Jesus is more important than work, running, soccer and karate.
My son asked me the other day why we waited so long to baptize him after he became a follower of Jesus. I explained how we were just taking our time to pray and watch. My three-year-old son was listening and interrupted.
“Dad! I don’t want to get dunked in water.”
My baby boy, the Presbyterian.
My oldest son stepped in to explain that once you become a Christian, getting dunked is no big deal except for the fact that, “you might miss a few songs during church.”
By the end of this explanation, my youngest son was convinced.
“I think I’ll be okay getting dunked.”
I pray that this conversation was a small vision of a future where both of my boys are my brothers in Christ.
But even when that day comes, my job will not be done.