Children: Our Legacy

Posted on June 13, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

Spending a week with five of our rapidly growing grandchildren, each with their unique personalities and interests, impressed me with the incredibly challenging task of nurturing them in the Lord.  Their knowledge of the Bible, frequent talk about how they love involvement in their churches and readiness to vocalize prayers in our devotional times were assuring that they are on the right track.

Through the Psalmist, God exhorts His people, “Tell the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done…He commanded our fathers, that they should teach them to their children; that the generation to come might know…that they should put their confidence in God” (Ps. 78:4-7). What a responsibility!

We talk a lot about taking the gospel to unreached people groups and the goal of evangelizing all the peoples of the world.  However, it is terrifying to think that Christianity is always only one generation from extinction!  God doesn’t have any grandchildren. Everyone who comes to faith in Jesus Christ is a child of God. How important to teach every generation of the works of God, especially what He has done to save us, and to nurture children in a relationship of love and praise of the Lord.

It is sad that many children are raised in families that faithfully attend church, but they never come to an authentic, personal faith in Christ. They attend Sunday School but never see the reality of their parents faith in coping with adversity, demonstrating selfless relationships of love and mutual submission to others.  They don’t observe parents pouring out their hearts in prayer for lost nations and sharing Christ with a neighbor.

Children will recognize their own need for Jesus Christ and embrace a commitment to His Lordship when they see the authenticity of their parents faith lived out with consistent, daily relevance. Each successive generation of the nation of Israel seemed to flip-flop back and forth between faithfulness to God and rejecting Him and succumbing to the influence of their pagan neighbors.

It is imperative families pass on the teachings of God to their children, but children are more greatly influenced by the model and example they see being lived out in the home. Do they observe a passionate love for God, confidence in His power and provision and parents walking in His truth.

Once again I was stirred to introspection by the presence of these precious grandchildren in my home. Will they know “Papa” only as that old man who fathered their mother and daddy. Will they simply know him as a preacher and missionary who held important positions.  Or will they know him as someone who reflected God’s love and showed them what it meant to walk with Jesus?

May we be faithful in our witness to successive generations that they should put their confidence in God and keep His commandments.

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