Grace to Fulfill Our Parental Calling #4

  • Parents worthy of honor pass on to their children a legacy of the faithfulness of God in their family’s life and pilgrimage.

Example of Joshua and his memorial stones.  Joshua 4:7 declares God’s intent in having Joshua make this memorial:  “So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”

We must make known to our children our family’s history – “the details of (our) experience in the midst of all that had happened and all that God has done for (us)” (Edith Schaeffer, p.107).

Edith Schaeffer underscores that, if this type of Deuteronomy 6 communication takes place (vv.4-7; 10-12), love and respect will follow very naturally in the parent-child relationship. (Along the way – not just sitting in your house.)

  • Parents worthy of honor place their older children into some lawful calling whereby they may serve the purpose of God in their generation (Example of King David and serving the purpose of God in his generation —  Acts 13:36)

Wisdom from the past regarding this practice: Thomas Watson explains:  “It is good to consult the natural genius and inclination of a child… To let a child be out of a calling, is to expose him to temptation.  Philip Melanchthon says, Otium balneum diaboli [Idleness is the devils’s pleasure resort].  A child out of a calling is like fallow ground; and what can you expect should grow up but weeds of disobedience” (Watson, p.135).

Present crisis.

Contemporary Practice:  In the past, the largest denomination in the United States saw over 90% of its students leave the church during their first two years of attending  university.  Of course, many of these students return to the faith later in life, but what incredible damage is done to the souls of young people who have lots of financial resources and free time without any sense of a divine calling from God about their life’s work.  Think also of the many lost opportunities for making an eternal impact on others for Christ that have been lost by these young people who are aimless and without purpose in life.

Contemporary Perspective:  We must work to overcome the false dichotomy of  sacred vs. secular. For we believe that all of life is sacred and that all callings are sacred and important and help us fulfill the creation mandate.

Imitating the Mormons: The Mormons are head and shoulders above the evangelical church in this area by requiring their young people to have a two-year missionary stint before going off to college.

Important Note:  I do not believe we can legislate this type of activity, but parents need to rise up in this area by studying their children, their talents, bents, spiritual gifts, and desires, and be proactive in giving them guidance in terms of pursuing God’s calling on their lives.  This study has prompted me to become more proactive in this area of parenting my own children.

  • What are the benefits of becoming a parent worthy of honor.

Rest for your soul and the favor of your Father.  Jeremiah 6:16.  You minimize feelings of guilt, remorse, and regret about what you failed to do.

It enhances the quality of life of our families and our nation. “The quality of a person’s life in every nation and every age is connected with the way individuals respond to parents and then to all who are in authority” (Walter Kaiser Jr., Toward Old Testament Ethics, 158).

Honorable parents, teaching their children God’s grace and God’s truth, and in return being honored by their children, would mean close-knit families, biblically-defined family roles, a warm, loving, and mutually supportive family and home environment where children could grow up secure, being nurtured and taught the things of Christ.

It serves as an antidote for all that disintegrates families and nations. Since the family is the very building block of civilization, the cornerstone of society, obedience to this commandment launches an offensive against a monstrous amount of sin and evil in our culture such as:  Divorce, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, teenage drug abuse, venereal disease, illegitimacy, and runaways.

It provides an example for the next generation to follow.  Therefore, your family heritage is strengthened.

By God’s grace, it will enable you to have a wonderful friendship with your children when they become adults.  There is a tendency in our culture to reverse this order.  The only way for you to enjoy a friendship with your adult children is to serve well as their parents now.

Let us all heed Socrates’ call to take care how we nurture and train our children because one day we “must relinquish all” to them.  May the generations that come behind us find that we have been faithful to God in fulfilling our parental calling “to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Let us then, move forward in the power of His Spirit taking God at His Word that He is “the faithful God, who keeps his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

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