Children Are A Heritage From The Lord
Our children are our legacy that will live on after us.
Today's Thought for the Day comes from Psalm 127. In verses 3-5 we read:
"3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate."
Here in the NKJV, verse 3 describes them as a "heritage." A "heritage" is a gift received through inheritance. Our children are a great blessing from the Lord. The Lord is so gracious toward us especially as we consider that due to our sin, we deserve absolutely
N-O-T-H-I-N-G! Yet the Lord graciously blesses us with this great blessing. Our children also represent a piece of us. A piece of us that will live on after we are dead and gone. A piece of us that will reflect on our character and integrity when we are returning to the dust.
It is so sad to contemplate that many parents take their children for granted. Some even abuse them and torment them. Some neglect them and see them as nothing but a nuisance. Perhaps the saddest of all situations are Christian parents that do not take their children's spiritual development seriously. Sadly, I have had contact with many such parents. Almost without exception, such parents do not take their own personal spiritual development seriously. They habitually miss services. They themselves do not regularly study their Bibles nor engage in diligent prayer in their own personal lives. Naturally, the children's spiritual development is greatly stunted. Why? Because parents have the greatest influence on their children of any person in their children's lives. That places a tremendous responsibility on parents. Paul admonishes us as parents when he said (Eph. 6:1-4):
"1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise: 3 'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.' 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."
I passionately believe the vast majority of parents desire to raise responsible, well-mannered, and well-behaved children. Such children do not come by accident. Children are the most serious project we as parents will ever engage in. It takes a lot of work and diligent prayer on our part to raise children that love, serve, and respect us and others, and do so willingly. And even more importantly, it takes a lot of work and diligent prayer to raise kids that love, serve, and respect the Lord willingly and with their "whole heart."
Personally, I am blessed with two such children. I am not "tooting my own horn." Because I know I have not always been a perfect parent. However, I have never taken my children's development in any realm for granted and especially so when it came to their spiritual development. Despite my own lack of perfection, I can honestly say I have put their spiritual development as my top priority and so has my wife.
There are many things involved that are necessary to raise children properly. Describing all of them is beyond the scope of this short article. However, one thing is certain: their spiritual development is paramount! It is the most important aspect of raising children because it has eternal ramifications (for both the parents and the children!). The most important aspect of their spiritual development is not necessarily encouraging them to read the Bible or to pray, and certainly not for them to listen to us pontificate about spiritual values. No, the most important aspect is for them to see Christ living in their parents!
By far one of the saddest situations I have had to deal with over the years as a gospel preacher are parents that come to me wringing their hands over their unfaithful children. "Preacher, we've lost our children!" they lament. "What went wrong!" Nine times out of ten the answer is simply this: "Your children followed your example. You never took your own spiritual development seriously, so why would you expect them to do so?!" I know there are no guarantees in life. I have seen a few cases where parents have "lost" their children despite their best efforts. However, that is certainly the exception and not the rule. Solomon wrote (Prov. 22:6):
"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Our children are a gift from God, they are our legacy that will live on after us. At the judgment we will give the Lord an answer for the way we raised them. It is incumbent upon all parents to not only prepare ourselves for eternity but also prepare our children. When parents neglect their children's spiritual development it is the epitome of the highest form of child neglect there is.
"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." (Isa. 54:13; KJV)
Craig V. Thomas