The Great Commandment for Parents

fathers_day_feetWhen God gives us the greatest commandment in all of Scripture, He immediately follows it up with another command, requiring parents to diligently teach the Faith to their children.

In Matthew 22:36, someone asks Jesus to identify the greatest commandment. Jesus responds by quoting from the Shemathe prayer which served as the centerpiece of Jewish morning and evening prayer services. The Shema–assembled from three passages of Scripture–was confessed daily by faithful Jews.

The Shema for Jewish believers can be compared to the Nicene Creed for Christian believers. It served as the central creed of one’s faith, summing up what it meant to believe in God.

The portion of the Shema Jesus referenced can be found in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

Where does God require parents to diligently teach their children?
Everywhere: “when you sit in your house” & “when you walk by the way”

When does God require parents to diligently teach their children?
At All Times: “when you rise up” & “when you lie down”

In Deuteronomy 6, the first part of the Shema instructs us to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength. The next part of the Shema instructs parents to diligently teach their children to love God. Parents are required to do this all day, every day, at home and away from home, from the time they rise in the morning, until the time they go to sleep in the evening.

It would be very strange for a person to attempt obedience to the first part,
while disregarding the second part.

God put them side-by-side in Scripture for a reason.

If you make an honest effort to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength, then of course you will teach your children to do the same.

Diligent parenting is an important part of what it means to love God.

Lazy Parenting and Serious Christianity do not mix.
You have to choose one or the other.

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About Fr Joseph Gleason

I serve as a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois, and am blessed with eight children and one lovely wife. I contribute to On Behalf of All, a simple blog about Orthodox Christianity. I also blog here at The Orthodox Life.
This entry was posted in Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Matthew 22:34-46, The Orthodox Christian Family. Bookmark the permalink.

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