Ambassadors of God
Recently I had a parent in our Meeting share with me that while they were scrolling through social media with their child by their side, they came to a photo of me. The child became extremely excited and said, “There’s God.” The parent said, “Who Pastor Chuck?” The child points at me in the picture, and he said, “Yeah, God.” The parent said to the child, “His name is Pastor Chuck, and he brings the Word of God.” The child then said, “Well his third name is God.”
I am certainly not God; in fact, I often feel like the Apostle Paul — the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Regardless, the expression from this young child reminds me of a Scriptural principle that John W. Ritenbaugh writes about: “In God’s eyes — and in a small child’s — a parent stands in the place of God Himself. In the physical sense, parents are the child’s creator, provider, lawgiver, teacher and protector and sometimes even savior. A child’s response to this relationship will greatly determine his later response to larger relationships in society. And it is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN to affect his relationship with God. Thus, since parents represent God, it becomes their obligation to live lives worthy of that honor. Ultimately, the responsibility for keeping this commandment falls on the child, but it begins with the parents through child training and example. If parents neither provide the correct example nor teach the correct way, they can hardly expect their children to honor them” (1997).
Adults often forget the impact they have in the life of a child. In our busy, often hectic lives, we fail to recall that children look to us for provision, legislation, teaching, protector and often salvation (from the monster in the closet, or the bathroom drain — genuine fears of childhood which call for a savior-adult). The way we represent God in the lives of children is the method they will recognize God in their lives. As adults, we need to stop and consider that we are ambassadors of The Almighty.
Deuteronomy 6:5–9 reminds: 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (NIV).
The godly adult has an incredible ability to incorporate God’s Word, God’s standards, God’s precepts, and God’s principles into daily life. Adults can model God successfully in all they do. Fred Rogers once said adults can be ambassadors of goodness without making a big deal of it (1998). Simply put, as we live the standards we know are truth, through daily ritual, these truths will transfer to the next generation. Scripture states to train children in the way they sound go and when they grow old, they will not depart from those ways (Proverbs 22:6). The best teaching is caught not taught, may we be people who love God so dearly that our expression of love is contagious to the children we encounter.