In preparation for the new Young Married class we are starting at our church (Calvary BC), I started reading The Gospel-Centred Family by Tim Chester and Ed Moll. Though, I am only two chapters in, I already have a great appreciation for the book, and am excited about wading into the content with some of the young families in our church.
In their second chapter, “Gospel-Centred Hopes,” Tim and Ed address a common problem among American evangelicals–namely, placing primary importance on things other than Christ and the gospel. Yes, Jesus is good for Sunday, but real life starts on Monday and finishes Saturday night.
In a biblical exhortation to parents, they challenge parents to rethink the hopes they have for their children. In short, they call families to live for Christ by re-orienting their lives around Christ Monday-Sunday. They point us Jesus’s call to pick up our cross and follow him, and in so doing, they make their case that Gospel-centred families must eschew the venerable idols of education, success, and respectable living. They write,
I’ve often heard people say they would consider living in the city, but they’re concerned about their children’s influences and education. But that begs the question: what do you want for your children? If you want them to be middle-class, prosperous and respectable, then live in a leafy suburb, send to a good school, and keep them away from messed-up people. But if you want them to serve Christ in a radical, whole-hearted way, then model that for them in the way you live. That won’t necessarily mean moving to the inner city. But it does mean exposing them to costly ministry. Teach them that following Jesus, denying yourself and taking up the cross is what matter (Mark 8:34)…
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with education, career, marriage or prosperity. But when we make these things more important than knowing and serving God, then they’ve become idols. The problem is they are respectable idols! It can easily become okay, even in churches, to make an idol of education or career or respectability.
May our minds be renewed by this counter-cultural word (cf Mark 8:34). May the Spirit of God show us the innumerable ways we crave these vain idols. And may we commit ourselves, by God’s grace, to lead our families to put Christ and his cross at the center of our lives, so that our children will live for more than what they can taste, touch, feel, or get in this world. After all, that is what Scripture instructs us to want for our children.
Soli Deo Gloria, dss