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    by Mike McHugh

The Calling to Wash Our Children's Feet
Date Posted: July 17, 2008

The longer my wife and I home educate our children, the more I realize why so few parents today are willing to commit themselves to the task of teaching their own youngsters. For starters, the commitment to home school places parents in the position of having to spend numerous hours each week teaching, grading papers, preparing lesson plans, as well as providing their children with extracurricular activities or socialization. When these routine duties are done, there are commonly areas of the curriculum that need to be expanded or supplemented such as in the realms of music or physical education. Then parents can also expect to deal with the challenge of sibling rivalry, as well as child discipline and correction. Oh, and did I mention that while the full-time efforts of home instruction are taking place, moms and dads must still look after things such as meals, laundry, the paying of bills, and general housework? I think I can rest my case.

There should be no doubt that the calling of parents into Christian home education is rooted in the duty of parents to minister to the needs of those whom Almighty God sovereignly places within their household. It is emphatically not a call to be ministered unto, but rather to minister the grace of God to immature souls who are in desperate need of guidance, instruction, and direction. The high and difficult calling of parenthood is also a holy mission, for the “little ones” in the Kingdom of Christ rely heavily upon their parents to provide them with the instruction that they need to be fit workmen for the Lord.

It is quite amazing to read the New Testament accounts of the exchanges between Christ and His disciples, as well as the dialogue that took place between the disciples themselves. In many respects, these passages enable readers to see how childish and immature the followers of Christ so often were as they sought to follow the Master. On many occasions, Jesus would have to endure their slowness or inability to correctly perceive a situation, as well as their petty jealousies and bickering. For these reasons and others, the Lord Jesus Christ often found it difficult to teach the very men that he knew were called of the Father to come under His teaching. Yet, what is even more amazing is that Christ never gave up on these “hard cases”. He never became weary in well-doing, and never permitted anything to stop Him from ministering into the lives of those that the Father had given unto Him.

A simple but powerful example of the perseverance and humility of the master teacher Jesus Christ, was when he washed His disciples’ feet just hours before He was to begin His march to the cross. This amazing scene of Christ washing His disciples’ feet is a marvelous testimony to the truth that: “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” (Matthew 20:27) The acts of Christ toward His disciples, i.e. students, is made all the more meaningful as one reflects upon the fact that He knew that these same men would soon forsake and abandon Him. Nothing could or would divert the Lord Jesus Christ from loving His sheep, with all of their faults and failings, to the very end. The opening five verses of John chapter thirteen, record how Christ felt about His disciples for He called them “his own”. Jesus regarded the souls of those under His charge as His peculiar property, as objects of special care that demanded His personal attention and diligence.

In like manner, parents must learn to train and disciple their children with the same type of humility and commitment that was modeled by the Lord Jesus Christ. The calling of parents as teachers demands that they be willing to pick up their cross and condescend to the level of their students in order to help prepare them for service in Christ’s kingdom. It also requires that parent teachers be willing to take upon themselves the role of a servant, daily washing their children with the truth of God’s Word, while enduring the immaturity and restlessness of their “little ones” for Jesus sake. Home educators who are willing to abandon their own self-interest and pride, are in the best possible position to inspire their students to recognize that they too must be willing to pick up a basin and towel as they pursue their own God-given destinies.

Copyright 2008 Michael J. McHugh

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Biography Information:
This column is written by the staff at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. As a pioneer in the homeschool movement, Christian Liberty ministries has been operating a full service, K-12 home school program for over thirty years and a Christian textbook ministry (Christian Liberty Press), since 1985. The mission of Christian Liberty is to provide parents with quality, affordable educational products and services that will enable them to teach their children in the home and to train their children to serve Christ in every area of life. A more extensive explanation of the CLASS home school program can be obtained at
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