Today is my dad's 72nd birthday. (Happy heavenly Birthday Pop!!!). As I sat and wished him a Happy Birthday, my mind got to wondering about training up a child. I heard the Holy Spirit as He began to talk to me about First Fruits: The Seed.
We often think of first fruits in the way of monetary offerings. But, what of the other ways in which we can honor God with our firsts. Our children. This generation is often described as lost. But, if they are lost, who lost them? Who wasn't there to guide them on the path? Who didn't complete the assignment? Or never showed up to roll call to even take on the assignment? I hear some of you moaning and groaning already about this post. "They are just willful." "They don't listen." "I've showed them the way, but they want to take their own path." While not all this generation will follow your guidance and teachings, I must ask - - what did you teach/show and how?
The Word says: "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV). Let's back up for a moment. The book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom. Christianity.com describes it as is one of the five “wisdom books” of the Bible, with the other four being Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon (Song of Songs). (https://www.christianity.com/bible/niv/proverbs/)
So, it is in this wisdom book that we find the directive on how to train up, raise up, our children. In the right way, in the way of God. Hannah, in her wisdom, gave her child, Samuel, over to the priests to raise. For it was God that blessed her womb and it was to God to whom she entrusted her son. To whom are we giving our children over? My parents in their wisdom, trained us up to love and respect them, each other, ourselves, our family, and our community at large. While we were not church goers growing up, there was always a reference to God in our household. God was not something or someone you played with. He was special. I remember my mom crying one night at dinner. I was told to pray over the food, but I couldn't recite the Lord's prayer. Mom cried because she thought she had failed me. I did not understand it at the time. Couldn't conceive why this hurt her heart. When I became a mom, I understood the feeling that she had so many years ago at the dinner table. While she did not fail me then (nor has she ever), there was a piece of training that I missed in my younger years that I retained in my older years. When I turned my life over to Christ, my mom was one of my biggest cheerleaders and still is today.
Training up a child does not stop at 18. My 23 year old still comes to me with questions about life. While it is not the same form of training, it is still training. His preparation for his 'Next' has already begun. I decided when he was a baby that I would have him in church so he could learn of God early on and develop his own covenant relationship. Have there been struggles along the way? Absolutely. He like many of his generation (and the generations before and after him) question the validity of God, Christianity, religion vs. spirituality, and why are there so many different religions. My advice to him as well as any others questioning, go and investigate all you want. Search, read, ask questions. What I found during my quest was that all roads lead back to God. When my son brought questions to me, I thanked God for the classes and debates while in college that gave me enough knowledge so I could sit and have a discussion with him many years later regarding these questions. This was part of his training. This was part of his journey. My relationship with God is not his nor his mine. To establish his own relationship, he had to search, seek, ask all on his own. Demanding my son follow Christ would have been an extension of my relationship and not one of his own. His foundation was there. He had been to church, Bible Study, Sunday School. He heard the Word being preached. His knowledge of Christ allowed for his deciphering from truth and fiction when it came to what was of God and was not. Even now, as he steps into his own, my prayers for him are that the Will of God be done in his life and not his will nor my own.
So, I ask again, if you are labeling this generation as lost, what did you teach/show them and how? If they are questioning God, why? Is it the normal curiosity of children or have they seen/heard something that does not mesh well with the God being portrayed (not lived, portrayed)? We always want to say let us pray for lost souls, but are we fighting for them? Are we in the war room on our hands and knees, crying out to the Creator of all, for these beings? If your answer is not built on Kingdom principles, then, have you - we - done enough? Understand, I am not asking what your church has done, what the Pastor/First Lady has done, what Christians around the world have done. What have you done? Prayer changes things. Where is your prayer shawl? Are you in your closet? Have you turned your plate over? Nothing is impossible for God. Go be Hannah and give over your children - your First Fruits - to their Father and watch Him work. Then take your hands and mouth off the situation. You cannot but God can. Let Him!!!
Be A Blessing and Not Just Blessed