by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
Here’s one for you: What is the major function of a window? Is it to let light into a space and thus dispel the darkness? Or is it to enable those inside that space to see what’s outside?
You might try enlisting family members to defend one or the other position, and then hold a debate. In my opinion, it’s a draw; you could argue for either purpose for windows as being more important than the other. How about you?
Speaking of windows, you may have heard of this one: the 4/14 Window. Some people consider it a movement in the global Church. Others call it an initiative. Many simply know it as a day to focus on children, their needs and potential. The convenient hook for this discussion is the date: April 14 – or better yet, 4/14. You’ve probably heard of it before. You know that this 4/14 Window refers to the years between the ages of four and fourteen. This is strategic because it is the time in a person’s life when he is more likely to respond positively to the Good News about Jesus than any other time.
So I ask you, one: what are important reasons for a focus on children from four to fourteen? That is, paying attention to people when they’re still kids. And two: why give this discussion a special time of its own, naming a day after it?
Proponents for the letting-light-in philosophy would say it’s beneficial to think about this topic because it points out ways we can bless families or the church they attend. Those who favor the seeing-out main purpose for a window might argue that this annual focus could help kids inside this age group gain a clearer, broader horizon. Of course, whichever side wins the debate, everybody benefits.
So here’s my suggestion for April 14 this week. Even if you have to hold that thought until the weekend call a family council and explore the value of observing a 4/14 Window Day in your home. You might start by identifying the windows that have let God’s light into your lives as individuals and as a group. Praising your Heavenly Father that you have not been left in the dark would be a natural follow up to this. You could also pray for people and ministries who have shone God’s truth into your lives. Pray for specific places where people still wander in spiritual darkness.
Brainstorm with family members some ways you might broaden your family’s spiritual horizons. Are there situations or people you’ve been ‘blind’ to? Maybe there’s a need to clean some windows on the inside to enable you to minister to someone near at hand, or, even, far away. Are there opportunities for growth that you may be avoiding out of fear or ignorance? And remember to record any plans of action you come up with for future reality checks.
Finally, let the energy you generate result in creative expression and careful research. You might get so excited that you’ll end up having a 4/14 Window Day celebration every year.
And, please, don’t forget the majority of this world’s ‘4/14ers’ who have little to celebrate in this life. Millions of them still wait to have the light of Jesus’ love shine on them before they are scooped up by movements or circumstances that shut out God’s light and blind them to His grace and forgiveness.
Shine, Jesus, shine! Fill this land with the Father’s glory.
Blaze, Spirit, blaze! Set our hearts on fire.
Flow, River, flow! Flood the nations with grace and mercy.
Send forth Your Word, Lord, and let there be light.
(Search for this praise song on YouTube and find several renditions to sing along with – to help you memorize it.)
2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 5:8-10, 13-16