What is the best gift you’ve ever received? My son Ethan surprised me when he answered, “to have Jesus, to be with God, to be a Christian.” Wait what?
Even though he absolutely loves his Lego sets (and spends hours crafting new concoctions), the toy guns and swords he’s received over the years, and he dashes through the house goading his bigger sister into duels; even though he thoroughly adores all those things, he knows deep down that these are not the greatest gifts he will ever receive.
“I can’t have these forever,” he said, “I know God will be with me forever.”
From the mouth of a seven year-old child comes the Truth that I had not heard until I was in my 30s. And so I have been extremely blessed by the work God has done in my son. Since birth, we have surrounded him with Bible knowledge and Biblical concepts, but as he and his sister grow older our compulsion is to get them ready for the world. Well, what does that mean?
Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” What am I training my child up in? Sports, finances, cooking, reading, doing math, computers…the list goes on in the many different ways we are encouraged to teach our children well…for that which will not last forever.
As Christians, we know that Jesus died for our sins, he redeemed us of our sins and the terrible permanent penalty—death, in the ground, forever—that would have been paid so that we can live in eternity with our Father. Why then do we do everything to teach our children the importance of the now, the here, getting them ready for this world?
Just as the primary duty as a husband is to ultimately present our bride to our Lord holy and blameless, our primary duty as a parent is to raise them lovingly in the ways of our Lord, to prepare them for eternity.
In his Voice of Grace two weeks ago, Youth Ministry Director David Noel reminded us of our baptismal vows (as parents): to endeavor to set before him a Godly example, pray with him, pray for him, teach him the doctrines of the our holy religion, strive to bring him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Indeed, if Jesus is the greatest gift we have ever received—a gift that allows us into eternity with our Lord and Creator—are we living for Him?
Christian parents, I exhort you: pause and take some time in this rat race of raising your children and take stock of what you are doing: are you focusing your child on God? Assess, seek God’s wisdom, and if necessary, realign or add new priorities. Let Him lead you. Stop living and leading our children for this world and, instead, live for eternity!
Tony Lim has been attending GRC with his family since 2009. He is actively involved in Men’s Ministry and the Communications Team. You can find him periodically sporting a bow-tie on Sundays.