Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast.” (Luke 2:41–42, NASB95)

Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. Discipleship is always easier when there has been a lifestyle of dedication to the Lord played out in the lives of one’s children. As our kids see our devotion and the sacrifices we make for the One who gave His all for us, their hearts, minds and souls are imprinted with the concepts of discipleship.

Discipleship is, in essence, parenting. We spiritually birth them and then we parent the newborn in Christ to maturity. They, in turn, do the same and so, the link continues from Jesus and The Twelve through us to the next generation. In their early days, we teach both by what we say and, more importantly, by what we do in their presence.

Here, Jesus had watched for eleven years as the caravan for Jerusalem left without him each Passover. Now, the excitement must have been almost uncontainable as He walked with Joseph and alongside Mary. Imagine those long days and joy-filled nights as the pilgrims sang the songs of the ascents (Psalms 120-134), told of Passovers gone by, and what lay before them this year in Jerusalem!

Can you see the connection? Year after year, conversation after conversation, life was breathed into the young Jesus. As He saw His parents live the words they spoke, as He saw the grace they gave in handling the ridicule they endured for His unique birth, and as He watched them make the long trek to Jerusalem each year only because of their passionate faith, Jesus learned that God was worth His all. (Shades of His willingness to sacrifice Himself on the Cross were imprinted each month in Nazareth.)

So the question before us is, “Am I living out my faith in front of my children? Do I talk and walk the faith I possess? Am I influencing my kids in a supernatural way to live for Christ by the example I set?”

“Is the imprint I leave in the cells of their souls one that will linger long after I am gone?”Only by our repeated nurturing and parenting – whether with our own flesh and blood children or our spiritual ones – will we be able to answer, “Yes!” to this question.

Train Them Thursdays seeks to wed the Great Commission directive of Jesus with the practice He employed while on Earth. Each nugget is meant to encourage the reader with a “can-do” spirit to realize that discipleship is something each person is both capable of and empowered to accomplish. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, writes each thought and they flow out of decades of his tried and true field-testing in multiple settings from rural to inner city. He welcomes your comments below.