Today's post is by my friend, Joanne. She's the author of Just Too Busy – Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical and a fellow contributor of The M.O.M. Initiative. I'm delighted to have her sharing with us today!
“Look both ways before crossing the street. Eat all of your carrots. Make sure to say thank-you.” Every loving parent has said these words more than we’d care to admit. We’re faithful to teach our little ones the importance of safety, good health and good manners. But, what about their spiritual health?
It’s important for our kids to know what God says about honoring their mother and father or His rules about stealing and lying, right? But, what about honoring the Sabbath?
It sounds easy enough. Go to church and you can check that one off your list. At least, that's what I used to believe. Honoring Sundays as a family has now become the best part of our week.
God didn't make the Sabbath day a gentle suggestion, He made it a commandment: remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. The word holy means to set apart. This day has been set apart in worship to Him. Jesus says in John 14:15 “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” NASB It is not out of obligation our family has made this change, but out of a love for our Savior, our King. If it were obligatory, it wouldn't be a lasting change. Out of love, honoring Sundays as a family, is a continual desire.
When I started thinking about the Ten Commandments, I discovered I have a very bad habit of rating them on a sliding scale:
Do not murder. -Very important!
Honor your father and mother. - Important.
Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. - Not too important.
Now, after church we try and make the rest of our day as restful as possible. On Sundays, my husband and I usually read the paper together. We keep this day as open and commitment free as humanly possible. It has become a free-time family day.
Our children have a day to themselves to play together, go for a bike ride, or just hang out and read a book. We try to keep their busyness to a minimum too.
There are lots of ways to honor Sundays as a family. Many small changes can make a big difference:
• Have lunch together, or invite extended family over for a Sunday visit.
• Turn off the TV.
• Make Sunday the day your children play outside all day, hurricane warnings permitting.
• Turn off all video games, Ipods, mp3 players and computers.
• Read the Sunday paper with your husband. Encourage him to sit back and relax.
Two of our four children are teenagers. Their genetic makeup gives them a physical need for music. One of the changes our family has made to honor the Sabbath is to play only worship music on this day. These small changes have made quite a big difference in our home already.
As parents, we understand the importance of raising children in a way that is God-honoring. To teach our little ones respect and honor of God's commandments, we must first show them how we do it. Who would have thought we would have to teach one another how to rest? After twenty-one years of parenting, I’m still learning that the best way to lead them along the narrow path is by example.
Joanne Kraft is a busy mom and the author of Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical. She has a passion for igniting hearts for Jesus—especially moms. Joanne has been a single mom, a divorced mom, a full time working mom and a stay at home mom. She understands the heart of a mom.
Joanne worked for years as a 911 Police Dispatcher where she met the love of her life, Paul, while dispatching him to a call. Lifelong Californians, the Kraft family recently said “Yes!” to a God-sized adventure and took a cross-country leap of faith. They now live in Franklin, Tennessee where they’re raising their four children; Meghan, David, Grace and Samuel. They have happily traded soy milk and arugula for sweet tea and biscuits.
A sought-after speaker, Joanne’s articles have been published by Chicken Soup for the Soul, Thriving Family, In Touch, ParentLife, Today’s Christian Woman, Kyria, P31 Woman and more. She’s appeared on CBN, Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and The Harvest Show.