During the summer I am at home a lot more. Because of that, I get to spend more time with my family. The other day I was reading nursery rhymes with my daughter. This one, in particular, caught my attention.

Little Ships

Little ships
Must keep the shore;
Larger ships
May venture more.

There’s not much to this nursery rhyme really. However, the thing that caught my attention is how closely this imitates life, both spiritually and physically.

My daughter is a young child. There isn’t much she does where my wife and I aren’t around. She has strict limits on everything from television time to where she goes outside. That is the way it should be! As she starts to mature and show responsibility our boundaries and limits for her will expand.

She will be allowed to venture out a little further from the shore.

Spiritually, it is much the same way. As one is nurturing a younger believer (age or experience) there is a tremendous opportunity to help him or her by spending quality time together. This is when you help solidify what is already occurring in their heart. This is also where you can offer guidance as their actions learn to align with what their heart is already experiencing.

As someone continues to mature you release them a bit at a time. Think about Jesus and his followers. They spent massive amounts of life together. When the time came he released them into the roles they were to fill.

They ventured further from the shore with a course of travel in mind.

Isn’t that the way it should be?

Don’t ever forget, though, we (or they) are never alone. As parents, both spiritually and physically, we should always available to help, to encourage, to pray, to offer advice, to pick them up when they fall (they will), and to love them.

This whole nursery rhyme thing reminds me of something else that I read somewhere. I don’t know who said it or where I read it but it goes something like this…

I do, you watch
I do, you help
You do, I help
You do, I watch

This is the pattern of discipleship, whether spiritual or familial. If you’d like a good book to read on this let me suggest “The Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert E. Coleman.

Even better than that… grab a partner, pull up anchor, and head out to sea!

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Do you have any things that bug you? Little pet peeves maybe? I do! I’ve probably got too many. Some people might even say I’m paranoid.

I can’t help it. There are some things that weird me out!

One of the worst is drinking or eating after people. I can’t stand drinking after someone or having them drink after me. It’s actually sort of funny because I don’t even like drinking after my wife. I know, I know (don’t even go there). It’s even worse when it’s my daughter. Mommy can share her cup or her food but don’t touch daddy’s!

Those that know me really enjoy giving me a hard time about it, especially those in our youth group. One of the worst things I can remember doing, related to this, was a missions event that I did while on a beach project with Campus Crusade. All of the students on this project were divided into various groups and our group had a bowl of rice set in front of us. One bowl full of rice, and we were to eat it with our hands. I finally got hungry enough and ate the rice. Oddly enough, after sharing spit, slobber, and spiritual lessons, I gained a new sense of community that night (and I didn’t get sick).

How do you feel about people eating or drinking after you… spiritually? I realize it’s a bit of a stretch but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. In John 21 Jesus tells Peter to feed his sheep. We can only feed people what we ourselves have eaten.

In 2 Timothy 2:2 (ESV) we are told “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” It is our responsibility to be passing on what we have been feeding on. In fact, those people are supposed to be so well fed that they can feed others!

Are you feeding other people? If not, maybe you should consider finding someone that can eat after you. Spend time together sharing with one another what you are eating. Digest the Word together.

What is your diet like? Is it junk food or do you have a healthy balance? Do you eat regularly or when you feel like it?

Take some time to think through these questions and come up with a plan, a menu if you will. Then all you need to do is dig in with both hands (or forks) and enjoy the feast!

Bon app├ętit…