This week I’ve been spending some time with some senior adults from our church, going to some shows and eating way too much. Today we saw a show that featured a whole family of wildly talented musicians. The whole large family, down to the littlest children, could play multiple instruments, sing, dance, and act. It was really remarkable to watch.
As we left we joked about how we only thought we were proud of our own children, until we saw what these little phenomena could do. But, the truth is that there’s a clear reason why our kids can’t play the violin or dance a huge choreographed number on stage. It’s because we haven’t invested time and resources into making them performers. We haven’t awakened them early every day so that they could practice an instrument. We haven’t paid for private dance or voice lessons. The developing of these talents has not been a priority in our lives. So, naturally, we aren’t seeing any results.
While we didn’t set out to make our kids superstars of the stage, I do pray that they grow to be champions of the faith. Isn’t that what all Christian parents want for their kids? To see them grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus? To watch them discover all the delights of His deep and abiding love?
But, I really wonder what kind of results that we expect to get when we don’t invest time and resources to help them get there. Think of how many ways that we fail to invest in our kids’ spiritual development.
When we sleep in on Sundays.
When we let sports and entertainment and, well, pretty much anything take precedence over church attendance.
When we don’t pray with and for our kids.
When we don’t teach them God’s word.
When we don’t teach them sound doctrine and show them how their theology should shape their worldview.
There are thousands of little ways to say to children, This isn’t that important. Faith and spiritual growth is for grown ups.
And then we turn around, and they’re grown. And we are shocked to find that they have little interest in the Christian life.
Young adults are dropping out of church at alarming rates. Why, dear parents, would we expect our kids to be dedicated, faithful, spirit-led, gospel-centered adults when we know in our hearts that we have not properly invested the time and effort to make that happen? It would be like me putting Adelade on a big stage and handing her a violin, expecting her to play brilliantly. The fact is that she wouldn’t even know how to hold the instrument in her hands. She would quickly lay it down and walk off-stage.
We all want our children to be focused on Christ. First, we have to be genuinely focused on Him. Then, we have to spend the time training them, teaching them, advising them, guiding them. We have to think of it as if they are part of a huge production, and it’s our job to prepare them to step onto the stage.
What we do here will have implications for generations to come. Are we working to build that awe-inspiring, Christ-glorifying phenomenon in our own families, or are we too preoccupied investing in all of the stuff that doesn’t matter? Today is the day to begin.