Family Discipleship at the Zoo

 

Next to pictures from the apple orchard and pictures from birthday parties, the scene that seems most repeated in our family scrapbooks is the annual outing to the zoo.

Wild_things

Seeing the animals from the perspective of a three-year-old transports me back to childhood wonder in a way few things can.

Tiger_teddy

And being so close to big beasts, having watched Earth and back in the day, Wild Kingdom, I’m amazed by the privilege and responsibility that comes with taking dominion.

There is much to learn at the zoo. It’s the sort of setting where lessons about God are everywhere. The challenge for parents, if you’re anything like us, is to set aside your agenda–your desire to see everything and still be home in time for a nap–and listen for the Spirit’s prompting. Here are just a few lessons that may emerge:

God made the earth and all the animals (Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 1:10)

The earth, the heavens, the stars, all point to God, they declare His glory. (Psalm 19:1, Habakkuk 3:3, Psalm 50:6, Psalm 102:25)

The wild animals honor God. (Isaiah 43:20)

We, humans, are tasked by God with being good stewards of His creation, including the animals. (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:15)

God feeds the animals. (Luke 12:24)

How we care for the animals is a test of our kindness.(Proverbs 12:10)

Orangutan

Family field trips are a great place to teach your children about our great Creator, the Maker of all the animals. Seeing the vast diversity of creatures in one small space displays His majesty. He designed it that way, as Job reminds us:

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,

or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;

or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,

or let the fish of the sea inform you.

Which of all these does not know

that the hand of the LORD has done this?

In his hand is the life of every creature

and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:7-10).