Questions for Daddy: Sharing the Gospel With Your Children

The conversation started with frustration as MJ, my three-year old, complained, “Why can’t Mommy put me to bed?”

“Because buddy, she’s downstairs resting.”

“But I don’t want you to put me down Daddy!”  His 3-year-old temper was on the verge of a meltdown.

My reply was probably a little harsh.

“Well buddy, there are some little boys that don’t have a daddy, so we need to be thankful that we can spend some time together before we go to sleep.”

“What do you mean they don’t have a daddy?” His eyes narrowed.

I was caught. How could I explain this away?

“Matthew, sometimes mommies and daddies die or sometimes they might leave.”

“Leave?” His inquisitive nature always has the uncanny ability to trap me in my words and unravel my confidence in any subject. Searching for a quick out I took a different angle. “And that’s why we need to be thankful that we’re together buddy. Do you know what being thankful is?”

Feeling pretty good about my inquisitive reply, I thought I had bought myself some time. However, without a second’s hesitation, he says:

“Loving God”

Where the heck did that come from? It was the last thing I expected him to say. As I paused, I thought about his answer and realized there was a lot of truth in his words.

“Well, actually buddy, that’s right! The Bible tells us to be thankful in all things. Do you know what the Bible is?”

“It’s God’s story Daddy!”

He was beginning to draw me in to a conversation I never saw coming. “You sure are smart! How did you know that?”

“I have a Bible over there,” pointing to his nightstand. “Read me a story.”

As I grabbed his oversized, white children’s Bible, I opened to the beginning. Illustrations of the sun, moon and stars littered the pages. We turned from the creation story to Adam and Eve, all the while, I’m shocked at his attentiveness.

“Why can’t we eat apples Daddy?” He questioned, pointing to an image of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Chuckling I said, “No, not all apples Matthew. God just asked Eve not to eat from that tree. When God asks us to do something, it’s called a sin when we disobey.”

“Sin?” His mind raced as he pondered the word. At that moment, it occurred to me that he had never heard it before.

“Sin is when we disobey and…”

“Like not listening?” He interrupted before I could finish and he was one step ahead of me. How did his little mind understand his own struggles as he associated them with sin? I was completely frozen for a few seconds as I tried to process all of this in my head. Not to mention, my spirit was racing inside of me.

“But you know the best part Matthew? God still loved Adam and Eve.”

“He did?”

“That’s right buddy. And do you know how God showed them that he loved them?” I was proposing my answer in my own mind when he blurted out:

“He saved the world Daddy.”

I was astonished that those words came from the mouth of my three-year-old son. At that moment, it felt like I wasn’t the one having this conversation after all. Physically I was, but it felt like the Holy Spirit was granting me encouragement as each word became more clear.

“Do you know how he saved the world Matthew?” At this point, I thought he might begin preaching the gospel himself, when he replied, “How Daddy?”

“He sent his Son. Do you know his Son’s name?”

I could see his wheels spinning.

“Jesus!” His smile accompanied his sense of pride.

“You’re exactly right buddy. God’s Son Jesus died to save the world.”

“Is he in Heaven Daddy?”

“Yes He is Matthew and the Bible tells us that if we believe God’s story and ask Jesus into our heart that we can go to Heaven too.”

“Ok Daddy!”

I held it together as we finished our talk and I was deeply thankful.

And as MJ taught me, “thankful is loving God.” 

That night, I was loving God for this three-year old blessing and the opportunity to talk with him about Jesus.

Jr. and Sr.

Jr. and Sr.

____________________

As a Christian, I’ve often wondered how my children would come to know the truth of the gospel. Quite honestly, I’m guilty at times of worrying if they ever would. If I’m brutally honest, the story is quite incomprehensible to me sometimes.

An all-loving, all-powerful God, taking the form of a man only to live perfectly and die as a sacrifice for our sins. Then, rising from the tomb, overcoming death to signify his promise to us: Hope, Salvation, and Eternal Life.

It’s quite the daunting storyline isn’t it?

I think, this is particularly why Jesus spoke of faith on such regular occasion. He needed it to carry out His act of love: His death on the cross.

He knew we would need it as well.

He knew that faith is often the biggest hurdle along the path to righteousness.

But not just any faith, that of a child.

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17

I think our faith begins when we enter into the conversation like an inquisitive three-year old.

In fact, the moral of the story above:

It’s ok to ask your Father questions

MH

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  • Matt, what a beautiful story!! I can relate with the many times that my children have blown me away with their awareness of God’s presence in our lives. They are so open to Him and his love. True that we can learn so much from them. Thank you for sharing such a personal moment!! God bless Matthew!

    • Thanks Lily! It was very humbling and reminded me how great our God is. More importantly was the collective effort pouring into his life. Thanks for stopping by this morning!

  • One word: WOW!

    I love that story. It really is amazing what little kids pick up on and how much they can remember.

    It also leads me to ask: Why is it then so hard for adults to have the same?

    • Joshua – I suppose it has to do with the loss of innocence and loss of faith as we allow ourselves to be influenced by the world. That’s why Jesus said faith like a child right?

  • Pam

    They know God by example…ang what a fine example your boys have to learn from!

  • Debbie Sheneman

    How precious was that moment you got to share with Matthew. Jesus loves the little children. We do try to make the gospel complicated. Jesus never meant for it to be, just for us to trust, just like a child! This story blessed my heart today.

    • Well, your testimony has blessed my heart for life…

  • I’m looking forward to conversations like this with my son (He is 2 years old). Great things happen when we allow the Spirit of God to speak in and through us. Great thoughts!

    • Dan – I know you’re an awesome father! Do you just have one son?

  • Ken Maxwell

    Great story Matt. Thanks for sharing these. As I’ve often told my now 16 year old son, “I want to be more like you when I grow up.” Blessings my friend.

    • Hey Ken! You and your wife have done something right because ya’ll have two remarkable children (young adults). Thanks SO much for stopping by brother! Blessings your way!

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  • No wonder Christ said, “Let the little children come unto me!” Embedding the Word of God into their hearts and minds is one of the most important things a parent can do. That is love.

    • Love your last line! Thanks Shelley!

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  • Tom Morris

    Great story, Matt. I love so much how you two turned the situation around from frustration (his, of course) about mommy not being available to meditation on the deepest truths of the faith. One day that Matt may be writing this blog!

  • i love this. i love talking with my kids (age 12 and 9) about jesus and sometimes they get things so much deeper and more realer than i do. my daughter inspired a message i preached at church about resurrection and hope – she asked me how lazarus could hear God when he was dead. bam that question got me! had me thinking for a week or more! i now teach bible in schools here in New Zealand ( a half hour bible/values class in our state schools) and some of the questions are amazing. some are silly, but there are some that still your heart.