This month Dr. Foley and I celebrate the college graduations of our two youngest children, both of whom will be headed to seminary in the US this fall after interning with Voice of the Martyrs Korea over the summer.
Typically it is the role of parents to say wise things to their children in such situations, especially if the parents are long-time ministry leaders. However, in this case Dr. Foley and I were delighted to be schooled by our youngest son, Trevor, who wrote the following rap for the graduating seniors awards chapel service at Nazarene Bible College (or NBC, as Trev refers to it in his rap). I had the opportunity to be there in person to hear him share it, and what was most noteworthy is that it was preceded by earnest classmate after earnest classmate pledging to serve Christ to the ends of the earth following graduation.
Trevor’s message: Before booking your flight to the ends of the earth, pause for a moment (or several years) and make sure that your first church, your family, receives the benefit of your discipleship.
Discipleship, after all, is spelled with an “F”—for family—or as Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn puts it, “The most beautiful thing that can happen is when your own family grows to be a part of Jesus’ family. This can often be a painful process that occurs only by way of repentance and conversion, in which fleshly, natural family ties become something new through faith.”
Or as Trevor Foley puts it: Don’t miss the discipleship trees for the forest. Trev, may the Lord bless you and your sister as you head to the ends of the earth in service to Christ. You are two of the finest trees any forest could ask for.
Trees for the Forest
1 Timothy 3:5 states, “if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?’
My friends, don’t overlook what’s more important
You might be missing the trees for the fores
- Started off at NBC, got enrolled
Pastoral ministries degree? Oh, you’re sold.
You set a goal to preach the most bold
But neglect to preach to your own household?
- Pursuing a degree in counseling
Or if theology is what you’re pondering
Sights set globally, Sights set yonder
Chase the lost sheep and let your household wander?
- And to my friends who are graduating with me
All ready to line up, and get our degrees
Have you neglected to disciple your household?
Never set a regular time for worship at home?
Was reading scripture central? Or problematic?
Did you think discipleship was automatic?
Did you endeavor to pray together with your family?
Or did you forget discipleship happens manually?