A few months ago at the AG KidMin Conference, I heard an incredible sermon by Sydney Morrow on Joshua 4, following the conference, I felt inspired to try to replicate a significant piece of Joshua 4 in my own life, but first, a little context:
The Lord had split the Jordan river, much like he had the Red Sea when Moses was leading the Israelites, for Joshua and the nation of Israel. The Lord had the Israelites take a stone from where the river was and once they had crossed and reached camp they were stacked on top of each other to serve as a monument to what the Lord had done. Why would God do such a thing? We find that in the closing of Joshua 4:
“Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.””
Joshua 4:21-24 NLT
It is evident in this passage, Deuteronomy 6, Titus 2, and many other scriptures that God’s desire is for the current generation to pass down the story of God’s faithfulness to the next generation.
Scripture tells us to "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." —1 Peter 3:15. This goes without saying, but “everyone” includes our children and those come into our home, who will most assuredly ask us why we live the way we do and believe the things we believe.
Feeling inspired by Joshua 4 and 1 Peter, my family created a very simple centerpiece for our dining room table. We chose a tall glass cylinder, each time we feel have an answered prayer or see God move in a special way in our lives, we mark a stone with a number and place it in the centerpiece. Our centerpiece has an accompanying journal, where we log each blessing with the corresponding number. When one fills up, we’ll display it prominently in our living room and start on the next one!
This does a few things for us, including:
It makes us more attentive to the Lord’s work in our lives.
It encourages us when we our disheartened or do have doubts to see the many times God has been faithful.
It will serve as a conversation starter for our children, just like the 12 stones in Joshua. My daughter is currently 21 months old, and I cannot wait until the day I’m asked “Daddy, what do these stones mean?” Then, I can tell her!
When we started, I wanted to sit down and recount stories with my wife because I thought an empty centerpiece would be disheartening. My goal was to prime the center piece with 15-20 stones, but once we started going and recounting the goodness of the Lord, we had 150+! In my opinion, the initial conversation and time spent reflecting on God’s mercies was well worth the $20 or so dollars on the materials.
My reasoning is much like Joshua’s, so that McKenna (my daughter), our guests, and anyone who sees them “might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful” and so they may also fear the Lord my God forever!
How do you share your testimony with your kids? Feel free to share ways and times you’ve shared about God’s faithfulness below!