Preparing The Child's Heart
…And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God…
I want to share with you a typical situation found in many homes. It describes the life of a grandfather, a father, and his son. It tells of a problem faced by many. The purpose is to show from the scriptures how to deal with such problems in our lives.
The story describes a phone conversation between a man and a preacher. The man on the phone was a Christian. It seems he had attended services and Bible classes as a youth. His parents had taught him the truth and made sure he was present whenever the church assembled. As a youth, his tender heart was touched by the gospel and he obeyed it. He was eager to serve the Lord and grow closer to him. But sadly, soon that enthusiasm waned. As he grew older into a teen and then a young adult, the pleasures of this world enticed him, and, as Demas, he forsook the Lord because he developed a love for this present world (2 Timothy 4.10).
While in apostasy, he married and started a family. A son came along. A son whom he loved and who was his pride and joy. A son upon whom he rained blessings and gifts. There was nothing he would not give or do for him. Nothing, that is, except what his parents had done for him: Bring him up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6.4).
After his son had finished college and gone out on his own, the man said his mother, the son’s grandmother, became ill and needed special care. She moved in with her son so he could attend to her needs. She, in spite of her infirmities, was determined to remain faithful to the Lord. She asked her son to take her to the services of the local church. He did. Worried about her wellbeing while there, he decided that instead of just taking her, he would go with her to make sure she would be alright. Surely, he thought, he could endure it for her sake.
He felt uncomfortable sitting there. Yes, he had sat in pews many times, but that had been long ago. He had not frequented a church building since before he was married. Yet, in a strange way, there was a familiarity and a feeling of belonging. At each service, he grew more interested in what was going on and more comfortable with his surroundings, but more uncomfortable with himself. He finally realized he needed to come back to the Lord. He, to the surprise and joy of his elderly mother, answered the invitation and, with tears, penitently told the preacher how sorry he was for his years of neglect. Prayer was offered and he was restored to his Lord and Savior.
How wonderful he felt! “how great to get my life back on track!” he thought. He sensed a peace that he had not experienced in years. He now attended services with glee. He avariciously read his Bible daily. He started telling everyone about what he had done, how it had made him feel, and how they could have that same joy and peace that he was experiencing. He told his son what had happened and invited him to come to services.
But, the son would have nothing to do with it. He had his own family now. He had the responsibilities of job and family, and he had neither time for nor interest in such things. His father was heartbroken. He repeatedly tried to get his son interested in his spirituality to no avail. Finally his son let him know very plainly that he did not want to discuss the matter again.
So, that is why his father called me. His son lives in our city and he thought maybe - just maybe - I might be able to do what he could not: Get his son to listen to his need for the gospel and Christ. I knew that the years when his son could have been easily touched by the gospel were past.It was during the formative years when he was under his father’s control that his father neglected to teach him the ways of the Lord and set a proper example before him. Yes, the gospel still has its power to convert, but not in a heart that is hardened to it or in a person who sees no need for it. The father agonizes over the lost opportunities he had to teach his son as his godly parents taught him.
Parents, remember that when you neglect your service as Christians, you are impacting the lives of your children. Do not let your neglect contribute to your children being lost. DO not let this sad story be repeated in the story of your life. Please read at this time Psalm 78.3-8.