A Crucial Part of Effective Spiritual Parenting Kerry S. Doyal Before there were post-it notes, there were Moms. Prior to planners – paper or electronic - eons ahead of e-mails to self or alarms, Mom’s were on the job.
Moms know that part of their role in raising their children is keeping them mindful of things: Eat your veggies, brush your teeth, straighten your room, do your homework, return that call. . .
Being the family memory is not always welcomed, pretty or pleasant – but someone has to do it. Right Moms? This role is so vital because we are forgetful, neglectful people, easily distracted, guilty of deferring tasks to later. Right Moms?
Our priorities get re-shuffled all too often. “Plan A’s” get put aside and someone needs to point us back to the path. This life-long need is so large we need more than just Moms.
Keeping people mindful of important matters –like a parent - is a crucial ministry we are to have in each other’s lives: reviewing truth, rehearsing biblical priorities, rehashing areas of needed repentance.
The parental role is often used in Scripture to describe ministry. Teachers, disciple-makers, mentors are often cast as a Mom or Dad (see 1 Thessalonians 2; 2 & 3 John). The Apostle Peter picks up this paternal pattern as he points to poignant truths he wants his people to pursue with passion and persistence. He pens:
“Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.
“And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.” (2 Peter 1:12-15 ~ ESV)
Jogging memories is an invaluable ministry practice. Peter promises “always to remind you… as long as I am in this body… I will make every effort so that… you may be able at any time to recall these things”. Right living starts with retention, which requires regular review.
Good news: everyone needs reminding of the truth - even Moms! So Peter pledges to remind them of the core Christian truths even though they already know them and are “firmly established in the truth”.
Knowing and holding to truth is not enough. It needs to be applied, acted upon (see Matthew 7; James 1:22-27). Such a “bringing back to mind” ministry is “right”, Peter says. It’s needed and not necessarily nagging.
Face it: forgetting hardly facilitates further growth in our faith. But recalling God’s righteous requirements can ramp up right living. To use Peter’s phrase: it stirs people up.
Exhibit “A”: Remembering an anniversary hours before the day ends - that is one suddenly motivated person. So too keeping in mind God’s desires and designs for us should thrust us into movement. We are to be strings on fingers for each other (see Hebrews 10:23-25).
Crusty old men can recall without effort things that their folks told them as children. Why? They heard it a million times - and needed it a million and one. Reminding others of God’s Word creates an enduring ministry, an eternal echo in people’s hearts.
Knowing his days were numbered, Peter made every effort to help them remember God’s truth long after he was gone. Like a play at a local theater, we’re all limited engagements (Philippians 2:19-28 & 2 Timothy). To leave a mark for the Master means keeping people mindful of the Master.
The most powerful “memory jogger” that mentors use is their life, being living letters (see Philippians 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:2). Show us, model things we need to remember.
As Israel was told to remind the coming generations of God’s powerful acts and deliverance’s, so too we are to teach ours (Exodus 12:21-28; Deuteronomy 6; Proverbs). Retell your faith stories, share testimonies of God’s work. Forgetting is far more that just inconvenient, it can be deadly (study Joshua 24:26-31 and Judges 2:8-17).
Other memory-jogging ministry methods include writing letters, gifts that spur thought, phone calls, visits, and yes, even texts and Facebook.
Set up “stones of remembrance” for yourself and others – physical mnemonic devices that speak to God’s greatness and our required response (e.g. Joshua 4; 7; 8; 10).
Do more than desire to have truth ring in others' ears long after you are dead. Imitate Mom: drill us with truth, dial in our hearts to His, give us daily reminders. We are forgetful. We become neglectful. We need reminding. Right Mom?