PRAY, PROVIDE, PARTNER, PREPARE. Consider these as four pegs upon which to hang strategies and best practices for discipling children for God’s Kingdom glory and work.
We might try modeling our work with children on the way Jesus did ministry. He lived with his disciples clearly teaching the sufficiency of Scripture, interacting with them through every day experiences. He modeled dependency on God, exhorting them to live for God’s glory and the expansion of His Kingdom. Drawn to times of intimacy with His Heavenly Father, He stretched and strengthened His disciples’ faith.
And what better setting is there for this today than the home? Knowing Jesus well ourselves, will we not thus give our children the life-shaping experiences that come from the Master’s touch? Rather than bringing a contrived version of Jesus to our children, let us humbly bring them to Him…to know what it is to receive His blessing so that they, in turn can bless others.
But wait, we must not be content even with this critical, local task. Some estimate that 30% of this planet’s population is young. Millions of children worldwide live in poverty, their lives impacted by violence, disease and all kinds of evil forces. Large percentages have not even heard the Name of Jesus. How can they possibly know Jesus intimately? How then can they reflect God’s glory and point to His mighty works? Can we turn our backs on these children? We may not be able to call out their names or visualize their faces, but this is certain. Every one of them is known to God by name, and in love He reaches out to each one, desiring their worship as they, in turn, display His glory.
For from the very beginning, in the Garden, God made known the strategic importance of children. (Genesis 3:15) The first social community He created was the family, and His plan for generational faithfulness runs through all of Scripture like a golden cord holding the stories and their characters together. (Psalm 78:3-7) Let us obey His call to vigilance and action: “Draw the children to Me, and hinder them not, for of such is My Kingdom.”
If we disciple them well, they will grow up as Jesus did, (Luke 2:52) – “…in stature , in wisdom and in favor with God and men.” May this be the heritage of our children all around us and of children everywhere, to the glory of God and the joy of the loving mentors who guide them on their way.
Make a point, frequently, to imagine yourself a parent on that sunny afternoon seeking out Jesus, our Savior, that He might bless your children. Picture them on His lap, even now, finding the amazing comfort that comes from knowing how deeply He loves them. Together, with your children, move out then, to share this opportunity – to share this blessing with others.
Next time, we’ll expand on what it means to PRAY with and for our children. Feel free to respond with your comments and suggested resources.