Mission Trips & Mission Life
As I sit down to write this article, it’s Father’s Day Weekend. After 23 years of being a father, there is no doubt that one of the greatest blessings from the Lord is being a parent! What a joy it is to be a daddy, to watch your child begin to walk, talk, to see their personality develop, to see them learn by the realities of life, and ultimately to become fully functioning men and women.
Yet besides all the joys of being a parent, there is great responsibility. It begins when they are young, helpless and totally reliant upon us to provide for them; and it continues as they go through their teen years and we seek to keep them safe from the dangers of the world and those who might negatively impact their lives. Our responsibility as parents has many facets, but the most important one is that of teaching them to know and love Jesus.
For many years, one of my favorite passages has been Deuteronomy 11: 18-19 “Fix these words of Mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. These words record the Lord’s instructions through Moses to God’s people as He gave them the Commandments. I love how the Lord understands us and our need for reminders of who He is, whose we are and to what we have been called. He therefore says, make yourselves reminders by “fixing these words of Mine upon your hearts and minds…tying them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”
But the next verse really speaks to me as a parent. He’s not just telling us to “take them to worship,” or “tell them what to believe on occasion” or “just make sure they see you now and then pray and worship.” No! Listen again to how the Lord emphasizes that discipling our children is to be fully integrated into every aspect of our lives. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Did you hear it? Our responsibility, our privilege is to pass on our own faith by living it out in every aspect and area of our life. It’s not what we do, it’s who we are!
We all know the saying, “Like father, like son” or “Like mother like daughter.” Well in my case, with two daughters, mine is “Like father like daughter.” I have prayed and sought for our girls to see that my faith is more than a religion, and more than my occupation. I have prayed that they have seen my faith to be intimate and personal. My youngest, Julia, just graduated from High School and before she heads off to the University of Florida, I wanted to help her to see this with me in a fresh way. So, we went on a “Father-Daughter Mission Trip” to Haiti.
This time, I didn’t go as the “leader” or “pastor” but I went as a participant. Together we served side by side. Together we marveled at what the Lord was revealing to each of us, and together we were humbled at how the Lord used us and touched us. Yes, even if I were not a pastor tomorrow, I am and will remain a disciple of Jesus, living under His grace and sharing His message of hope and life with those around me. And…I will remain her father, seeking to model life as mission wherever I am, and in whatever I do.
May the Lord empower you to live the same whether to your children or to whomever He places in your life.
Rev. James H. Rockey
Pastor of Amazing Grace – Oxford/The Villages, FL
FL-GA District 3rd VP