First Responders

miriamby Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International

The media has recently been full of news about valiant men and women whose mighty exploits fill us with wonder and admiration – modern day heroes.  I hope our children are getting the message.  The human spirit is capable of larger-than-life behavior to do good.  Children respond to examples of this whether they come from current events or from the Bible.  In fact, I think you’ll agree that we do well to find ways to interject examples of heroism from God’s Book into our everyday family life.  This is one way our children grow up convinced that “…great is our Lord and mighty in power.” (Ps. 147:5a) One way they can make a difference, even while they are young

For instance, I sometimes wonder if Jesus had a very young man in mind when he told the story of the Good Samaritan. I’ve chosen five examples, however, from the Old Testament, all familiar stories, to make my point: our children never outgrow these accounts, and with some creative direction and interaction, they can continue to hear God speak into their lives by them, over and over.

The five heroes I’ve chosen – three guys and two gals – had a lot in common even though each of them had a unique experience:

  • Genesis 37:12-36 – Joseph
  • Exodus 2:5-10 – Miriam
  • I Samuel 17:28-35 – David
  • 2 Kings 5:1-3 – Naaman’s wife’s servant
  • Daniel 1 – Daniel and his three friends

Why not set aside some time to consider these five young heroes – each one’s circumstances, challenges, resources, the strategies they followed, the outcome, how this matters today. 

David may have stated this latter point the most clearly (I Sam.17:46 -…that the whole world will know the God of Israel…) but you can wrestle with the ‘so what’s’ of each example after you’ve explored the details.  Set your family members free and challenge them to make discoveries afresh out of the Word.  No parental preaching, here, please!

However you go about it let each family member take a turn at leading the discovery and discussion.  You might print the Scripture references above, one each, on a 3X5 card and hide the cards in a specified area.  Let family members hunt until all of the cards have been uncovered…hopefully you have at least five people for this…one card to a person.  Post the six phrases above in bold type on a large piece of paper for all to see as they prepare to lead the whole family discussion, when it comes the individual’s turn.  Assign someone or ask for volunteers to keep track of important points and discoveries.

You could do one example at a time and spread these sessions out over a few weeks.  Remember to pull into play all of your family member’s creative gifts: visual art, drama, music, research and writing and the like.  Encourage free discussion; accept even ‘far out’ ideas as they come up.  Just manage the time allotted for this so you land solidly on the final point each time: what does this mean for me today?

As I’ve been thinking about these five stories while writing this entry, I’ve been impressed at how strongly they reflect current issues: domestic abuse, sibling rivalry, captives of war, refugees, slavery, violence. It will no doubt be easy to turn your sessions to prayer – for each other and for those around this world who face similar challenges as Joseph, Miriam, David, Naaman’s slave girl, and Daniel.

And, isn’t it wonderful to be assured that today, as in days of old, God is our heavenly “first responder” when we allow him into our lives by trusting and obeying him?

…finally, be strong in the Lord, and in his mighty power.  Ephesians 6:10      

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