This past week my wife and I celebrated the birth of our first kid, Micah Shea. Meeting my son for the first time was a feeling that I’ll be working on articulating for the rest of my life.
After a couple of days the time came for us to bring him home. We were leaving the safe and controlled environment of the hospital (not to mention the glorious “nurse’s call-button”) and bringing this completely helpless baby into the confines of our home. We would become completely responsible for him…and no one seemed to object. So home we went.
We came home to the same house. The same dishes were in the sink, the same bags were thrown on the floor, and all the signs that someone had gone into painful, sudden labor here were still there. Yet something was very different: Me.
I felt a sense of responsibility like I have never felt before. I felt an instinct to protect. I felt the reality that more people were depending on me. And moreover I felt a desire to be better…in every way.
“I want to know God more. I want to know my Bible better. I want to exemplify the character of Christ. I want to lead my family in prayer more often.” These are some of the thoughts that have been on my mind this week.
At the same time, I’ve felt a little guilty. Why do I need a child to inspire me toward godliness? Shouldn’t I be more disciplined regardless? I should have had my act together!
I think the quick answer is “no,” I shouldn’t feel guilty. Here’s why:
The Bible calls us to not neglect meeting together because when we are all together we spur one another on. As Christians we shouldn’t isolate ourselves from each other because we each play a particular role in our community and contribute to the growth of others. What my thoughts and feelings have taught me this week is simply that even children of the community have a role to play in that process.
I love being around the older men at LPC in general, and in particular the older men in my LifeGroup family. They provide wisdom, share their experiences, and spur us young guys on with their examples of masculine godliness. That’s their role in community.
I thoroughly enjoy spending time with my brothers, my other 20-30 somethings. I look forward to meeting up for lunch or coffee and hearing about how they are running after God. My peers challenge me, give me ideas, and help me remember that we can accomplish much together. That’s their role in community.
And finally, we have children. Seeing infants, toddlers, and all children running around can be a reminder that there are little eyes watching us. They are living visual aids of the responsibility we have to teach the next generation to know and fear the Lord. These little ones influence us to be diligent and to watch our own lives closely, because they are depending on us. That’s their role in community.
So let not any of us neglect meeting with one another, for we all have a role to play…even the kids.