As I’ve been reading through the Bible Books 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and now starting 1 Chronicles (9 chapters of genealogies!) I can’t help but notice that a father may be a righteous and good person and leader, but the son turns out to be a evil and bad leader who oppressed people. Or on the other hand, the father may be evil but the son turns out good! What’s the deal? Why is this?
I know godly men and women – parents – who have invested in their children the best they know how but their children turn out bad kids who use drugs, steal and spend time in jail. Why is that?
Then we have people who do not follow Jesus nor practice the principles in the Bible, yet their kids turn out good!
To tell you right from the start, I don’t have a concrete answer!
My wife and I, Cynde, are the parents of four children. We’re proud of our children and they all turned out good in my estimation…not perfect, but good. Especially as I consider mine and Cynde’s own lack as role models in many areas. Two of my sons are pastors, however, I’ve never put any pressure on any of them to follow me in pastoral/church ministry. One of my children is involved in Education at this time and the other is studying and will probably be involved in the sphere of Arts and Entertainment. I believe that being a Christian minister is not more important than being a Christian in the sphere of Education, Arts and Entertainment, Social Relationships, Business, or Government. Each are of equal value as we all represent the Kingdom of God in the sphere in which God has called us.
However, here’s a couple thoughts and pieces of advice:
- Every person is born with sin. That sinful nature creates rebellion and independence in us. Regardless of the positive Christian upbringing we have received, if we choose to turn to the Dark Side, every person has the free will to do that.
6 And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why do you look annoyed? 7 If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it.” 8 Cain talked with Abel his brother [about what God had said]. And when they were [alone, working] in the field, Cain attacked Abel his brother and killed him.
2. We are called to discipleship.
Genesis 1:28 28 And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
God’s focus is on people, not programs. The earth was created for people. Our biggest investment and greatest reward is people. It will not be church buildings or ministries that we present to the Lord when we stand before him, but the people whom we’ve had the opportunity to positively influence. That includes our children. I really, really encourage you to invest in the biblical education of your children – Bible knowledge, application of the knowledge and teaching and modeling good character. Not just from 0 to 5 years old, but throughout their time in your home and under your influence. I really, really encourage you to lead a small group of men, women, children or youth with a systematic study, prayer and fellowship. Your reward will be the people whom you influence.
3. You and I must be spiritually healthy. If there is any possibility of furthering righteousness in the next generation it begins with me and you being spiritually healthy. That means a real, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ…not just Christian habits of attending church, prayer, Bible reading and giving. While all of these are good Christian habits they can be done without an on fire relationship with Jesus. What we want to see incarnated in the next generation is not just taught, but “caught” when they see and follow our examples.
What I’m talking about here is thinking beyond ourselves into the influence we can have in the next generation. In our children and in men and women, boys and girls whom we help lead to Jesus and grow as a Christian.
I’d like to ask you a question: How would you rate your relationship with Jesus? Hot on fire and moving aggressively forward? Or, drifting, kind of cold or “not what it could or should be”? Or perhaps you say “I’m okay. It could be better or could be worse. Kind of in the middle, but I’m okay.” Jesus calls this level of relationship “Lukewarm.”
15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!
Yikes! Here is the principle:
What leaders do in moderation, followers do in excess.
If you’re a little lukewarm, then it’s likely that those who watch you or follow you are a lot lukewarm. If you’re a little lazy in your relationship with Jesus or your work, it’s likely those who are watching you will be quite lazy. If you fudge a little in your moral stance it’s likely that those who are watching you or following you will drift even further away from God’s standard.
Remember, we don’t live for ourselves. Man’s Mission from the God of the Universe is to live for others.
2 Corinthians 5:15
15 and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake.
Let’s pray that Jesus help us to focus on what’s important to him: People.