Categories: Pastors Blog
A few years ago, I wrote an article here about one of our families leaving their son at college. You probably don’t remember, so I will remind you: As this dad along with a group of parents left their children for the freshman semester, he turned to look back at the campus he was leaving his son to and noticed a rainbow arching up and across the sky over the university. His remarks centered on the promises of God and the comfort that though he was leaving his child, God was not. That story still chokes me up.
Now as I and my children grow older, this story sticks in my heart in a much more poignant way. I have 3 and 5 years remaining with Anna and Luke before I make that same journey. Most college students of faith face quite a challenge in those initial days of independence. Where is their faith when nobody wakes them to go to church or reminds them to have their “Jesus time”? What will guide their choices when that ever present parental accountability is gone? Will their faith be their own or will they leave it behind at home? So I must ask myself, “What am I doing now to instill in my children a faith that can become theirs?” When all is said and done, what will my children say was most important to us as a family when they leave our home?
God understood the challenge facing parents and the stakes at risk in raising children to love Him. In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, God makes the importance of a child’s faith development very clear. As God and Moses prepared the people to enter the Promised Land, they told the people,
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9(NIV)
I have added emphasis to the central phrase of this passage, “Impress them on your children.” The Hebrew word translated impress, or teach diligently (KJV), means that parents are to implant by repeated statement or admonition; teach persistently and earnestly the inestimable value of God’s worth. As God as our witness, I pray that we will all commit to persistently and earnestly teach our children the truth of God’s person more than we do the next sporting event, academic challenge, or band contest. God help us to raise our children to love Him more than this world.