Today’s Scripture: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7

There are many times when life gets heavy-not just for us, but also for our kids. When I moved to Chicago to pastor a church here, it not only became my around-the-clock job, but it also became my family’s new lifestyle. People would call and stop over at all hours. We did not have a garage, so if our car was in the driveway, it was inevitable that we would end up having visitors. So, Linda and I came up with a pizza night that we would do once a month with our kids. We would park the car a block away, close all of the curtains in the house, and shut off all the lights. By candlelight, we had the best time ever. It was just us, our kids, and the cheapest pizza we could come up with. But, all of us agree that those were some of the best memories we will ever have.

I don’t tell you all of this because I think Linda and I were perfect parents. No one is. I just feel that it is important to realize that we need to do fun things with our children and grandchildren. Making God first in your family does not mean that you cannot have times that are exciting. In fact, you should have a special time with your kids. If you’re not real, it doesn’t matter.

It’s really easy to get stuck in legalism and neglect to have fun with your kids. Life shouldn’t be weighed down by responsibilities every moment of every day. If life is all work, then your children will have no desire to be in the ministry. There needs to be time when you talk to your kids, time in which they watch you live what you say, and time to enjoy just being together.

Parents, you will not win your kids by forcing a set daily devotional. In fact, I believe that it will push them away from you. Instead of feeling forced, it should be spontaneous. If you wait until junior high to try to reach out to your kids and talk to them, it will be too late. From a very young age, our kids felt like they could talk to us. I remember our daughter Julie would sit on the edge of our bed and tell us everything. Not because she had to, but because she wanted to. Friend, your kids and grandkids will get more out of you talking to them and living out what you say than they will get out of 50 of my sermons. Keep it real with them and remember sometime’s gotta’ be fun-times!

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder