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Free ice cream for life?: Look to the past for support in the present

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.

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A boy looks at an assortment of ice cream behind a glass case
© Arkady Chubykin/stock.adobe.com

Baskin-Robbins is in the news today after recently celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary by awarding a prize for each year they’ve been in business. 

While most of the winners will receive gift cards or even free ice cream for a year, one lucky person will walk away with free ice cream for life

All you have to do to enter is share a quick story about your favorite memory involving Baskin-Robbins with the hashtag #BRSweepstakes.

For me, it’s a toss-up between going for a cone of strawberry with my family after tae kwon do practice as a kid and, more recently, taking my kids there after school. After all, there’s just something fun about recreating childhood memories with your own children. And I suspect that will be a common theme among many of the entrants. 

It’s a common theme in the Bible as well. 

What are you modeling for future generations?

One of the most important tasks God gave his people in Scripture was teaching future generations to follow him well. 

While he gave clear instruction for how they were to do that (Deuteronomy 6:5–9), far too often the example they set failed to reinforce the values they taught. They would go through the motions of worshiping the Lord, but too often it resembled empty sacrifices typical of the transactional faiths found in the nations around them. 

As such, by the time of Christ, the majority of good Jewish families raised their children in the synagogue and emphasized the importance of remaining loyal to the Lord, but there was often no real relationship. How could there be? Generations upon generations had been raised to prioritize largely empty acts of worship over the pursuit of a genuine interaction with God.

We cannot afford to make the same mistake in our communities of faith today.

Reflect to renew

To that end, one of the best safeguards against teaching a lifeless faith to others is by remembering the times when our walk with the Lord was the most vibrant. Doing so can renew our passion for God while also providing a framework for helping others grow in their faith as well. 

That’s not to say that everyone’s relationship with the Lord will or should look the same. After all, when done right, that relationship is as unique and personal as a relationship with a spouse, good friend, or loved one. 

But there are certain principles and, just as importantly, a genuine sense of joy and engagement that should be common among all who call God their heavenly Father. 

So whether you have small children, grown children, or no children at all, take a moment to reflect on the times that your relationship with the Lord has seemed the most real and intimate, then ask him to help you gauge how that compares to your walk with him today. 

Doing so can reinvigorate your faith while also positioning you to help others do the same.