I was the youngest of five children with two parents who walked with the Lord in very different ways. My mother was a deep thinker, an avid studier, and one who would scuba dive into the Scriptures and get lost in their unending depth. My father was a happy-go-lucky, life-of-the-party, lover of God, who embraced the simplicity and clarity of the Bible, and skipped on his tiptoes in delight around the shallow shores of its banks. We did not have family worship often, but they really tried. If I wanted, I could write some great comedy sketches of what took place when these two tried to impress spiritual truth together to us kids. Daddy would attempt to keep it simple and short, but invariably, mother would begin to wax on in the depths. I can even remember my father trying to stay awake—his eyes drifting in sleepiness, his jumping back to consciousness, his rolling of the neck trying to stay with us—this naturally caused my mother to fall to pieces and doubt his sincerity. To us kids, it was just plain funny, though we dared not laugh.
When I married and had children of my own, I knew we needed some kind of family devotion time, but my personal experiences conjured up visions of painfully long lectures and sporadic attempts. We wanted to point our children to the Lord and pray with them, but we wanted it to be meaningful and never beyond their understanding. With our always changing schedules, we could not set aside one particular night, and I refused to attempt it every night. (I could see my father’s eyes rolling into the back of his head at the thought.) So, on occasion, we would use an object lesson we might have seen, and it would often spark good discussion and a chance to teach spiritual truth. Our biggest goal was simply to model it before them.
Our focus on family teaching became based around Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (CSB). We realized that teachable moments, though brief, were always around us. A sunset, a meteor shower, a failure, a flower, a delicious meal, friends, enemies . . . these daily occurrences offered awesome opportunities to give nuggets of truth that were immediately applicable.
The best worship service we ever experienced was while camping at Yellowstone National Park. There was a Sunday morning service at the amphitheater, and as the humble college dude was attempting to give his devotion, two massive elk were behind him in the field butting heads and fighting. He finally said, “Rather than continue to speak of God’s glory, why don’t I just stand aside and let us watch it in action.” Wow . . . it was awesome! What was the lesson? God made elk! Big elk! They are incredible! So . . . God, the Creator, He’s incredible too! Great object lesson that day that we will never forget!
— Daphne Murrell