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Monday, May 25, 2009

The next generation

The June/July 2009 Focus on the Family magazine contained an article entitled "The Baton of Faith." In it the author describes his father's strongest desire in his last few weeks of life to see the baton of faith passed to his children and grandchildren.

I remember when I was in high school and college. I had the opportunity to live at a boarding school for two years when in high school. From the beginning I had the opportunity to decide whether to continue with Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance. It was not easy getting to church, but from the beginning I did. During the summer between my two years I hitch-hiked through Europe alone for most of the time. My companion was a Gideon's Bible (I still have it). The Psalms especially were a comfort. By the time I returned home, my faith was mine. I never struggled with leaving it, just with how to best express it and where.

Soon my children will be adults, on their own. Will my faith and their mother's faith be theirs? What can I do to move them along in that direction?

I was talking with some young people about this last week, and I was struck by something I hadn't thought of. MY goal is to see them following Jesus Christ, but what if that isn't something important to them? How can I help persuade them that this is a goal worth following? Here are some thoughts:

  • Fire insurance. While this sounds crass, why else did Jesus warn people to repent and trust him?

  • Having a solid base to build one's life on. Jesus' parable of the builders on the rock and the sand comes to mind.

  • Being on the winning side in history.

  • Being with the creator and redeemer forever.

  • Being part of God's plan to redeem humanity and all of creation.

Do you have any others that I should add? Thoughts, comments?

So how do I and other parents encourage our children to follow after us? Obviously we need to live lives that back up what we say we believe. We should also challenge our children. (Check out this article and this one on ten lessons to learn from great Christian minds.)

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