Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth have been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.'" Matthew 28: 18-20
When we first etched this scripture reference (Matt 28:18-20) into our pool deck we knew our pool would be used for baptisms. In the early years of the church we attended, an elderly couple opened their home and pool to the church body for its annual picnic and baptism. Our daughter was one of those baptized in their pool. However, as time left its mark on them they had to sell their home. Over the next few summers we were privileged to host the annual picnic in our back yard and witness our own son emerge from baptismal waters.
As the church outgrew our yard and purchased their own baptismal tank, we wondered how that verse would continue as a family cornerstone. It's not like we were going to pull people in off the street and evangelize them into baptismal waters or anything! That's certainly NOT our style. So, we pondered this for awhile.
Then, we realized our own children were who we were responsible for discipling. As much as we know there were other influential adults in their lives, God had given them to us for a predetermined time, to allow them to be fed and nurtured into a faith in Jesus. We were primarily responsible for this process and no one else.
It wasn't always easy. There were times we wondered if anything we taught them was sinking in and for a brief time, we thought we'd failed. But Jesus reassured us with his parting promise, "I will be with you always, even to the end of the age." We weren't in this parenting/discipling thing alone. Jesus was journeying right alongside us.
Now our children are grown and out of the house. On the hottest summer days, they come home to take a dip, share a meal and catch up on the week. As we sit back and reminisce over growing up at home, we realize Jesus really was with us in our discipling journey. Our son is head of his own household, raising a Christian family alongside his wife, and playing in the worship band at church. Our daughter and son-in-law are serving orphans in Uganda on short-term missions trips. As we all gather poolside or hold hands around the dinner table while saying grace, we are reminded that yes, we have helped to make disciples of Jesus and continue to do so into the next generation, even in other nations.