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THE HIGH STAKES OF PARENTING

THE HIGH STAKES OF PARENTING

 

“We’re sending scores of well-educated, well-dressed, well-adjusted, well-connected children to hell.”  I can’t remember where I read that (it was probably 25 years ago or more), but it has stuck with me. What is at stake in raising our children is more than giving them the best life we can give them on earth.  What is at stake is where they (and ultimately their children and all who come after them) will spend eternity.

Wholesale erosion of faith among the next generation can happen easily and quickly. When parents fail to teach their children and grandchildren God’s Word and model a life of faith they teach the next generation to worship other gods (self, material things, success, etc.) by default. Listen to God’s chilling words about why the nation of Judah was suffering as it was at the time of the prophet Jeremiah: “Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross? The LORD said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their fathers taught them.” (Jeremiah 9:12,13)

 

There is wholesale erosion of faith happening in our country right now. You can see it in the record number of young adults leaving the church and even Christianity.  You can see it in declining worship in churches, including ours.  And many just don’t care.  They are like the pleasure-loving, self-absorbed people the prophet Amos described: “You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. (Amos 6:4-6)

 

But Jesus cares because he knows what is at stake: the eternal fate of the precious souls he loves and for whom he died.  He take the spiritual care of children so seriously that he warns: “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.” (Mark 9:42)

 

I know that you care too because you belong to Jesus by faith. So exercise care in how you raise your children.  Remembering what is at stake as you raise your children, talk about and teach the word of God daily.  Pray with your children. Live a life of faith, where your values and priorities are shaped by the Word of God.  Hear the word of God with fellow believers as often as you can. Show your children what serving others looks like through your example. Tell them often that Jesus has made heaven their true home. Rely on God’s grace to use your imperfect efforts and his always powerful word to have the same impact on your children that God’s grace in Lois and Eunice had on Timothy:

 

I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

(2 Timothy 1:5)