But test everything; hold fast to what is good. – 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NRSV)
My child is the Total Skeptic variety of PK (Pastor’s Kid): not interested in church, not inclined to simply accept what he is being taught or what I am preaching about.
Once he asked me about the Holy Spirit, and I brought him to the window to point out the swaying trees, attempting some poetic apologetics: “Ah! The Holy Spirit is like the wind. We can feel the wind, we can observe how it moves the trees, but we can’t see the wind itself.” Yadda yadda.
I was greatly impressed with my object lesson. My son was unconvinced. Same with the bedtime Bible lessons.
While his skepticism sometimes makes me question if I’m really any good at my job as a pastor, I am encouraged by his instinct to test everything he reads, hears, and experiences, because it seems to be leading him to find deeper meaning.
He doesn’t enjoy coming to worship – but he knows church is a place where many different people love each other.
He doesn’t believe in healing miracles – but he knows we must help people who are sick and hurting.
He doesn’t believe in feeding miracles – but he knows we need to help people who are hungry, and he knows it’s wrong that there is hunger.
He doesn’t believe that God literally created humans in God’s image – but he knows every person is worthy of dignity and love.
Yes, there are times that I kind of wish he’d simply accept my lessons without question. But that’s about me and not my son. He is testing everything and holding fast to what is good. And that sounds a lot like the faith and discipleship that I pray for.
Holy One, guide us in our questions and doubts, and help us to hold fast to what is good and true.
- When have you tested what you were taught by others, much like the author’s child testing what he has learned as a PK?
- When have you been frustrated by others testing your wisdom for themselves, instead of “taking your word for it”?
- How have your communities (your faith community, family circle, mentors and friends, clouds of witnesses, etc.) guided your discernment of what is good and true?
Chris Mereschuk contributed this devotional to Hard and Holy: Devotions for Parenting, a collection of devotionals for the spiritual practice of raising, teaching, learning from, delighting in, and cleaning up after children. Order Hard and Holy today.