This weekend, I had the great privilege of becoming a God-parent to possibly the greatest child ever. To cut a long story short, his very birth was a huge part of my own coming to faith; I declared him to be my bestest friend before he was even born (a sentiment he obviously reciprocates) and he continues to be one awesome little boy with some fabulous parents.
Whilst it is a great honour to be asked to be a Godparent, it is also a great responsibility. Now, I take this responsibility very seriously and it is now my aim to become the greatest Godparent to ever live.
So how do I become the greatest godparent?
To start with, I think it’s important to look at the promises we as godparents made during the baptism service.
“Will you pray for him, draw him by your example into the community of faith, and walk with him in the way of Christ? With the help of God, we will.
In baptism Elliott begins his journey in faith. You speak for him today. Will you care for him, and help him to take his place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church? With the help of God, we will.”
Pray for him
From this, we can see the first thing I need to do is to pray for him. I must keep him in my prayer continually. For me, this includes adding him to my Prayer Jar (read more about this here); including him in my daily prayers and ensuring that I pray around important dates and changes: his birthday, when he starts nursery and school, when he moves house, when he has exams, when he’s travelling.
Walk with him
The next two promises: to draw him by your example into the community of faith and walk with him in the way of Christ look at how we pass on our faith to him. For this, I believe we need to turn to Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says this:
“Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates”
This passage speaks of the ways in which we can pass on our love for God and I can see three clear examples of how we can do this.
Talk about God
Firstly, “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up”. Taking the opportunities, we have to talk about our faith and our love for God is hugely important and this verse tells us that we should be doing this anytime, anywhere and all the time. As I don’t live with my godson, this means it is important that I ensure I have time that I can spend with him and that I can take the time to talk to him about God. I can tell him what I know about God; how I’ve seen God move in my own life and why I love him myself.
Lead by example
“Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads” is a verse which has led to a Jewish tradition of physically tying boxes that contain Bible verses to their arms and heads. This is an action they take which demonstrates their love for God. So how can I replicate this? I need to show my love for God through my actions, leading by example. I need to show my godson that I study the Bible, that I pray regularly, that I worship God, that I care for other people and love those around me. I believe this comes from spending time with him, and intentionally being open about what I’m doing and why.
Finally, “Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” demonstrates a public and open declaration of my faith. My home should demonstrate my love for God to my godson, through the things he sees around him – whether that be a Bible, a holding cross, a prayer book or through the decorations on the walls. Each time he visits he should be immediately reminded of my love for God. As well as the decorations, I also think this can be demonstrated through the hospitality, love and care I show him.
The second promise godparents make is to “care for him and help him to take his place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church”. Caring for him seems fairly self-explanatory and I’m not sure I could stop caring for him if I tried. But to help him take his place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church is slightly more complicated. To me, this speaks of helping him find his place within the global church, his purpose. We each have been given unique gifts, to serve a purpose to glorify God. I should help and encourage my godson to discover his gifts and use them to the best of him abilities.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
So, this is my mission plan for becoming the greatest godparent ever, let’s see if it works!
Dear God, thank you for baptism. Thank you for the opportunity we have to join your global family. Bless all those who act as godparents. Give them wisdom, patience, love and a joy for the responsibility they have undertaken. Guide them to the actions they need to take, the words they need to say. Help them to be the greatest godparents they can be. Amen.