Bill White, a minister, recounts the time he learned what grace looks like from one of his sons.
It was one of those evenings when everything goes wrong. The kids were cranky while I was making dinner, so I gave them some hot chocolate to tide them over. Timothy, who is five, decided to throw his marshmallows at his little sister, knocking her hot chocolate all over her. As she began screaming, the phone rang (and I foolishly answered it) and the doorbell rang (and I foolishly answered it—with the phone on my ear and a screaming kid in the background). I then returned to the kitchen and hollered at Timothy, and promptly had two crying kids.
As dinner began to burn and I deposited my daughter in the bath, I loudly announced that I was so angry I might do anything, so I declared I was putting myself in timeout. I closed the door, none too gently, and tried to get dinner to be the only thing simmering in the kitchen.
Everything changed about ten minutes later when I caught sight of a yellow piece of construction paper sliding under the door. In the unsteady hand of a kindergartener was scrawled a message of grace that pierced my heart and turned me around:
"From Timothy. To Dad. I still love you even when you're angry."
If you’re a lucky parent, you’ll have a moment like this eventually—one where your child is your role model. Parenting isn’t just about teaching our kids, it’s about learning from them. It’s the same at church. Our job is not just to help our young people mature into the image of Christ. It’s their job to help us do the same.
Today is Winterfest Sunday—a day where the teens give us a glimpse of what inspired them this year at Winterfest, a youth rally in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Our worship service will be led by teens. It’s particularly fitting this year, since the theme of the weekend was “Weave”—a call for our teens to be important members of the church.
I already see that in our teens. The work they do at camp every summer is just one great example. Today is another.