My parents weren’t perfect. Like all of us, they had flaws. But if I had to pinpoint the key to their success in raising a faithful family, it would be: consistency. My folks were consistent. We knew where they stood and they didn’t waver. They were the same at home, in church, and at work, wherever.
Jesus held first place for them. Nothing came before Jesus. Nothing. We didn’t miss church. I don’t think any of us kids questioned whether we were going to church. That was never an option. We were going. If you were sick, I mean “near death bed” sick, then you could miss. Other excuses like sporting events, sleep over at friends, staying up too late on Saturday or just wanting to sleep in—were never good reasons. Church doors open? The Princes were there.
They consistently worked around the church. Mowed grass. Cleaned the church. Served in whatever capacity was needed. Taught Sunday School. Led groups. I remember my dad filling in for the preacher when the pastor called in sick one Sunday. They participated in whatever was the latest church growth fad. Evangelism explosion. Knocking on doors in the neighborhood. Handing out tracks. You name it. They were all in. Moreover, they never spoke poorly of the pastor or others from the church. Our church growing up was far from perfect, but my folks didn’t complain about others (at least not in front of us).
My folks were consistently generous too. They were regular tithers. After we were out of college, their tithe became 15% of their income. I think when they passed they were giving 20% to the work of the Lord. That is before their special offerings. In the old days, Nazarenes took lots of special offerings: Thanksgiving Offering. Easter Offering. Prayer and Fasting offering. Alabaster offering. Bible College offering. Seminary offering. World Mission radio offering. When a missionary was passing through; or special revival meetings were held; or support of the camp grounds was needed, they would give in those offering too. If the church needed a new roof or if the furnace went out—they “dug a little deeper” for those special needs.
Consistent in priorities. Consistent in service. Consistent in giving.
If America used to be considered a “Christian nation” and now it is “Post Christian,” some wonder how did it happen? When people talk about the rise of “nones” (those who claim no religious preference on the census reports) or the lack of participation in worship services or the waning finances in churches today—I wonder in part if that is because of what has (or has not) been modelled at home. Whatever happened to a consistent walk with Jesus? I know that’s not the complete answer. It’s too simple. I know plenty of good parents whose children have made lousy choices. Still, the consistent godly walk before our kids and grandkids is a major factor in determining the spiritual trajectory of those who come behind us.
Let us be consistent in our worship, in our service, in our giving. Can we be as bold as the Apostle Paul who told the Corinthians, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)