“Teach Your Children Well”
October 3, 2016
Note: Due to a special “Disaster Preparedness Seminar” near Carlisle, PA we will both be attending today we did not have time to prepare our podcast for this message.
“He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands” (Psalm 78:5-7).
In several weeks our church is having a Missions Sunday and we presently have a large banner in front of our sanctuary with a call to reach out to the lost. Large letters state, “The World Is Waiting”. Along the sides of the banner there are several large photos reminding us of current conditions in our fallen and broken world such as substance abuse and moral perversions.
But one photo especially catches my eye, a young lady holding a sign informing her mother that she is an atheist. We can only imagine the pain this may bring to her mother, especially if she was raised in the ways of the Lord. Atheism and agnosticism are popular now, even considered “cool” and “intellectual”. *
A line in a song from my pre-Christian days in the early seventies said, “Teach your children well.” That’s a great truth, although I certainly doubt the original writer and I would agree on what constitutes teaching children well! (On several crucial points, that is.)
Teaching well may include being kind to others, showing respect to authority, being truthful and so forth. These are not uniquely Christian virtues. But they sure need taught and modelled today.
Parents desire that their children be successful and society has placed some very specific assumptions on what success is such as going to college to get higher education, getting a good job, making lots of money and having a lot of possessions. In our view many people are successful this way but not in other far more important ways.
Fundamentally, for the believer, teaching our children well and seeing that they are successful in what matters most embodies the essential truths of today’s Scripture portion. Within the law of Moses is a very specific command in this regard, “Teach them (the commands of God) to your children and to their children after them” (Deuteronomy 4:9). The Apostle Paul commanded parents (specifically fathers) “to bring them (children) up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The phrase “bring them up” conveys “to rear up to maturity.” Notice the content of the teaching Paul emphasizes which best describes what teaching “well” includes; “the training and instruction of the Lord.”
The main goal of godly parenting should be that their children accept and follow Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord and live their entire life in a manner that pleases God, while fulfilling God’s purpose for their life. Now that may include some of the same things the world calls successful but not necessarily. Unless given the gift of singleness parents desire their children find a spiritually compatible spouse, marry and raise another generation for God’s glory, being active in ministry, serving and giving of their resources and living a responsible life expressing faith and dependence on God.
That to me is what teaching our children “well” means. (I also expand this to grandchildren and others we may impact for the Lord.) Have you considered what it means to you? Are you taking your job seriously? When life, as we know it on this side, is all over what matters most will be taking up eternal residency with our Lord and bringing our loved ones along with us. What a glorious day that will be!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You’ve given us tremendous responsibility as we’re commanded to train and instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. There are many times when we’ve failed to be faithful in our godly duties as parents. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and unable to deal with the challenges our children present. Lord, help us to sow seeds of Christian instruction so that we will cultivate children who grow into fruitful, godly adults. Help us not to despair or give up in the present battles we face with our children, for in due time we will reap great blessing from our labor, as we continue to trust You in these matters. Amen.
Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the horrific Amish schoolhouse shooting here in Lancaster County.
As we often write we have enjoyed our association with neighboring Amish, most especially our former neighbors, Jesse and Anna Ruth, whom we met weeks after their marriage in 2002. We have seen their family grow, now with six kids.
Last spring I removed the old deck boards from my deck, intending to replace them with new ones. But the project stalled due to some underlying structural problems I was unable to address. Saturday Jesse came over to help me along with five of his six children. The baby stayed home with Anna Ruth since they now give tours of their farm for tourists.
The kids had looked forward to coming over to see “Steveweber”. When they talk to me or repeat my name they always run my first and last name together as if it were one name. Jesse and the two boys helped out on the deck while Brooksyne did some baking with the girls. Jesse is very proficient at construction and had the framework fixed up ready to lay the new deckboards down in several hours. I enjoyed watching his sons help him and the older one is already quite good at knowing and using tools. I recall about ten years ago when Dad would take him to jobs when he was just three years old, as seen below.
Last spring after removing the old deck boards I saw the joists were not supported properly. Thankfully the whole deck had not crashed down when we had a lot of people on it through the years. Essentially for those familiar with construction the joists were apparently just toenailed into the support beam on my house and then ran ten feet out with very little support, although there were two large 6×6 posts that could have been used! I always wondered why walking on the deck felt so spongy!
Jesse installed two big 2×12’s beams on the posts under the joists to give it support and also installed joist hangers on each end. Now it’s good and firm and we have laid the new deckboards as well, although, I now have a lot of attaching with deck screws
The girls made about 8 dozen molasses krinkle cookies. Brooksyne invited one of her Sunday School students, Tirza, to join them (center photo). She brought over the cookie batter her mom had premixed and they had a lot of fun baking cookies. Of course, the boys came in and snatched several as the aroma of the cookies baking in the oven wafted out to the deck area.
New friends from slightly different cultures
Brooksyne has several “Mr. Wonderful” dolls that the children found during their play time. They enjoyed hearing Mr. Wonderful talk and played his messages over and over.
* “Atheist Delivers Powerful Testimony Of Coming To Believe Life Has No Purpose” A humorous but thought-provokng piece from The Babylon Bee, a satire blog.
“I Believe God” Video Brian Free & Assurance
“I Believe” Video Brian Free & Assurance
We found this example of a teaching moment from a message many years ago when Brooksyne had an interesting experience with our Amish friends. Here’s her story:
I drove Anna Ruth to the dentist and cared for her two young children, Sadie (1 yr.) and Moses (2 yrs.) while she was at her appointment. I decided to shop at a nearby country store while babysitting the children. It never crossed my mind that I could run into problems with Moses, who only spoke and understood Pennsylvania Dutch at that time (a specific language used by the Amish in the home).
As we began shopping he did what any average young child would do in a grocery store and began to select candy, soda, chips, small pie tins that he enjoys playing with and all his other “desirables”. He placed them in the cart I was pushing with his little sister on board. I knew he was seeing just what he could get away with, but eventually (much to his disappointment) I had him put the items back on the shelves. I did allow him to keep a small package of M & M’s.
When I got to the register to place my items on the conveyer belt I noticed the candy was missing. I knew Moses would not have willingly put them back on the shelf, so with a little intuitive guessing I was certain that he had put the candy into his pocket. I looked down at him and he knew exactly what I was looking for. His eyes met mine and with his jaw set and lips fixed he very sternly shook his head.
We had a line growing behind us with many looking on at this older “English” woman having a very strained discourse with a two year old “plain” Amish child (hat and all). Before the conflict arose I had been enjoying my time in the store when many were smiling and commenting on the adorable children I was caring for. I asked if anyone spoke Pennsylvania Dutch and no one did, so I proceeded to communicate with “body language” to Moses as I tried to retrieve the hidden candy.
Eventually, after a burst of tears and much physical prodding the hidden M & M’s were recovered and laid on the conveyer belt. Moses was intent that the candy was not going to be returned to store shelves and the best way to prevent this was to hide it. You can imagine the story his mother (Mamm) heard when I met her at the dentist’s office. She said, “Just wait till Jessie (Datt) gets home to hear this story. We’re going to have to have a long talk with our son!”
I am sure they did as this young family is seeking to teach their children well.
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