Phil Eyster, a missionary, founder and president
of Eagle Projects International
, has been a dear friend of mine for about two
decades and has been a regular encouragement to me in the realm of parenting
and discipling my children. He recently posted this encouraging note about
finishing their fifth reading of the entire Bible as a family. Phil is honest
about the challenge of such a task and how long it takes with a large family
across a wide range of ages. He writes:
With all of my travels, and having guests here
(who we just included in with us whether they were Christians or not), and
interruptions, and phone calls and Marcia's health, and the addition of the
girls who aren't able to make it through 3 or 4 chapters, and my jet lag, and
on and on, this is the longest period of time it took for us to do it. We
simply can't get it done every day. Some weeks it is only 2 days, most weeks
it's like 4 times.
I encourage you to read the full note (it is not
very long) and be encouraged to keep on taking the small, faithful steps in
discipling your own children.
UPDATE: Since the original is a Facebook post it was not available to everyone. Phil has given me permission to post the full note here:
"Bible Time" At Our House
Yesterday evening I posted that we had finally finished reading the Bible through as a family after 4 years and 9 months. It was our 5th time through as a family, something we started in 1991 when Sharon and Leonard were very young.
I didn't post that to boast but as an encouragement to other busy families, to say that it CAN be done. Forty years ago there was a man in our church on the Main Line of Philly who had read the bible through every year of his life since his teens, often in different versions. At that time he was in his late 60s and I remember him saying it was over 50 times that he had done it at that point.
With all of my travels, and having guests here (who we just included in with us whether they were Christians or not), and interruptions, and phone calls and Marcia's health, and the addition of the girls who aren't able to make it through 3 or 4 chapters, and my jet lag, and on and on, this is the longest period of time it took for us to do it. We simply can't get it done every day. Some weeks it is only 2 days, most weeks it's like 4 times.
I print off a check list from the internet, and just hang onto that list, in this case for almost 5 years. It used to be only 2 to 3 years but with our new ones it took longer. All my kids have witnessed how hard it is to get "Bible Time" done, and I literally start announcing it mid to early afternoon that we are GOING TO do it tonight no matter what!! And I'll announce it more than once. And even then it takes the determination of a bulldog (imagine our bulldog Gus going after an intruder is a good example) to get it actually done.
I know a few families with multiple children of various ages who have adopted ones and no adopted ones that do this, and it is an unbelievable challenge, far harder than you think it would be (hmmmm wonder why?).
When we finished last night it was the first time for the little ones who are now 11 and 9 to do it. Bethany read the last verse. There was a real sense of accomplishment for them. After all, how many 9 and 11 yr olds have read every word of the Bible? Over the years we have used an enormous amount of methods, tricks, versions, patterns, lengths, and times to get it done. But we did it.
I immediately went and grabbed another check list and tonight????? Guess what....I'll start announcing it this afternoon.....Hopefully this time we can do it in less time. The fact that it is getting the word of God into us is only part of the benefit...concentration, focus, obedience, togetherness, talking, praying, meeting, discussing, dealing with any family issues, are all added advantages.
Most families and books I've read about how to run a large or small family use dinner time as a time to do all of this, and that's great and good. However, with our life, my schedule, Marcia's health, having kids from 23 to 9 around, I confess that if we can eat dinner together 2 or 3 times a week that is a major accomplishment. So pursuing a time of devotions together became the place where we connect. There are no hard and fast rules, and we frequently have to adjust things to make room for attitudes and moods and abilities and sickness and whatever, but this was the place we have found after 29 years of raising children that we chose to plant our flag in the ground and say we WILL get this done.
I hope this is an encouragement to some. It is not intended as a discouragement. And sometimes it looks very different and sometimes when I'm jet lagged I can't even pronounce the words and keep asking where we are reading. My kids have had a good time laughing at my expense, and they should feel free to post below this how spaced out I can be.
God Bless anyone who even makes an attempt to do this. It ain't easy.
Labels: Bible, family, reading