Foreign language training, math tutors, sport specific training, piano lessons, science camp. Sound like the line up for a sophomore in college? It’s actually a small sampling of the academic and sporting pursuits common among elementary school age children in Northern Virginia. All of the experts say it, “children have an amazing capability to learn at a very early age”, and very few of us would disagree. Why is it then that so many Christian parents are satisfied if our children can do little more than recite some basic facts about Noah and the flood, the birth of Jesus Christ, or the account of Daniel in the Lions Den but can tell us nothing of what we learn about our God or our relationship to him through these accounts? Why are not more parents alarmed that many of our children can’t explain, in simple terms, the gospel of salvation beyond repeating back the lingo they’ve grown up hearing. Ask a child what they mean by “having Jesus in your heart” and you may be shocked by their response or lack there of.
Over more than ten years in ministry to children I have had my eyes opened to an astonishing fact. Children have an amazing capacity to learn the deeper things of God, to serve Him, and to have a vibrant spiritual life. In many ways they are better equipped to bear fruit (Matthew 18:2-4) than we adults are. They are far less inhibited by personal baggage, held back by self-consciousness, or plagued with doubt than the average adult. The Holy Spirit is not age limited in His work. Sadly many Christian adults do not expect as much from their child in the spiritual arena as they do in the academic or athletic. This should not be so. Raise the bar! Help your child, no matter how young, begin to learn the basic doctrines of the faith. Help them live out their faith by taking them along while you live out yours. Serve with them, share your faith with them, “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” Deuteronomy 11:19. Raise the bar. Leave a legacy of real eternal value, a legacy that will last.
“After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel” Judges 2:10
May God forbid these words be uttered about our legacy. Raise the bar.