This Sunday, Nov. 18, we will have what we call a Family Dedication time during our morning worship service at Shelby Crossings. We usually do it a couple of times a year, so I guess that means it’s sort of a tradition. In a non-traditional way, of course.
To be honest, for a long time I wasn’t much of a fan of baby dedications–even when my own children were babies–and never planned to have them in a church I pastored. There was no particular reason for my disdain, except for maybe a general avoidance of all things ritual and ceremonial. However, several years ago, after a few parents in the church I was pastoring requested a time to publicly dedicate their children to the Lord, I decided to search the Scripture to see what God had to say on the subject.
I found that such public commitments of children were a way of life in the Bible, and expected of parents who were a part of the community of faith. They were not just superstitious rituals, or ceremonial displays. Instead they were times of sincere dedication and commitment of children to God, and of parents to the Biblical task of raising those children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” There was also a mutual dedication by the “community” to share in the responsibility of caring for and discipling those children to godliness.
And so we decided to go for it, and I’ve been participating in these dedications ever since (including the dedication of all six of my children). Still, the reality is that it’s not so much what we do or say publicly during Sunday’s worship service that will reveal our true dedication as parents. It’s what we do privately, when no one else is looking–face-to-face with our little ones, practicing loving discipline, praying for them, teaching them, and showing them how to live a “God-pleasing life.” Our commitment is evidenced by how we make use of the precious opportunities we are given as parents to make a difference in the lives of our children.
That’s what it really means to be a part of the “family” of God. To be dedicated to Him, and to one another. To live out our public commitments in a private way. To be Christian, on Sunday mornings as well as on Friday nights. My prayer for each of you this weekend is that you would truly dedicate yourself to being all that God wants you to be, and commit your family to Him as well.
Let me also take this opportunity, as we approach the Thanksgiving week ahead, to say how very grateful I am for the privilege of serving as your pastor. I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.