Where are all of our children?
This question has been asked by many brethren all over the world it seems. There is concern about the seemingly dwindling numbers of youth in congregations in areas that may have never seen this type of thing before.
So, where are they?
I would like to contend that they are exactly where WE left them!
Please notice the image of this blog post. There is a young man, and two young ladies studying an open Bible. One of the young ladies is holding a phone as a flashlight in order for the young man to read the text in which was being studied. What a beautiful image to find on the internet...right?
I personally took this picture on my iPhone just days ago. The picture turned out really well, but I didn't take it to enter it into any photo contests. It wasn't taken to share with family or friends necessarily. It wasn't to be sold as a "stock image."
So, why was the picture snapped?
Because these young ladies and man inspired me. They inspired me to smile. They inspired me to think. They inspired me to write this very blog.
You see, I know these young people. The young man is the son of a preacher, preaches, and is studying to be a preacher himself. The young lady in the far edge is a very dear high school friend of mine's daughter. But, regardless of who they are, this picture tells a story.
Follow me for a few minutes in the answer to the question posed...
Where have our children gone?
Our children are right where we left them!
When we leave them in the avenue of temptation...they are in the streets of satan.
Many times, we as parents, grandparents, mentors, and church leaders "leave" our children in the avenue of temptation. What do I mean by this? Well, I am just as guilty as anyone else, if not more. I have put a lot of trust into my children - one is grown, one is a sophomore in high school, so we are still the parents of a child/teen as well.
When we do not leave our children in good places, we will leave them in the avenue of temptation, struggling to find their own way. Sometimes, we may even "drive them" down that road. We don't think they will understand what sin is, so we just ignore it and sometimes even say things like "they will learn better one day." Wrong. They know exactly what sin is most times, and when you leave them in the avenue of temptation, you allow them to wallow all in it!
- When we leave them at the ball field...they are in the dugouts of the world.
I love watching some sports. I even like playing a few from time to time. But, I really like riding a bicycle...a long time. There is inherently nothing at all wrong with any of these activities, whether you (or your child) are the participant, or just a spectator.
What does become bad; however, is when we allow ourselves (as an example), or our children to spend so much time at practice, games, on trips, and so on. Some parents will even allow their children, and accompany them most times, to attend out of town ball games on the Lord's Day, missing worshipping God with those that are expecting their presence in order to fulfill the very facet of scriptures. (Hebrews 10:19-25)
- When we leave them all alone...they will find undesirable company.
From a thought of scripture in 1 Corinthians 15:33, we find that bad company corrupts good morals. Does that mean that I am calling your or my children "bad company?" Certainly not. What the intent of this bullet point follows is this - when we leave our children "all alone," we have left them to their own demise.
You and I both know that when our children our all alone, they become their own "selfie" so to speak. They are left alone to wander in their mind, in their heart, and in their inner-being. For most of us, that leaves our children in the risk of moral decay by not interacting or encouraging interaction with others that are necessary for good spiritual growth.
Think dinner at the table, weekends spent together traveling, family movie nights, and so on. Maybe even think about the object of this entire blog for example. In the picture posted, you find these "children" (even though some are college age) gathering together in a family style devotional among friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. This allows for our children to find nourishment in relationships and not be "all alone."
- When we leave them in the Word...they will find the light of the truth.
Somewhat of a contrast to the above bullet finds us looking at a verse in Proverbs.
"He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20
That verse is sort of self-explanatory in the common sense approach; however, let's dig a little deeper. As mentioned, the picture in this blog post came from a simple observation of some younger Christians studying the word of God...outdoors...by a fire...with a light projected by a phone. That is some serious desire right there!
When we leave our children "in the Word," such as we find these "children" doing, they will grow in the Word. They will find wise men and women to walk with, not only in the physical sense, but more importantly, in the spiritual sense.
That is really what this blog is all about. An appreciation of these children that are studying the word of God, and I am glad that their parents chose to "leave them in the Word!"
How about you? Where have you left your children? Where have your children gone?
If you are a parent...or even a grandparent, please remember that God gave you that blessing with a responsibility. That responsibility? "Train up a child in the way he should go..."
Teach him or her to love God and keep His commands. Teach him or her the difference between being left "all alone" and being left "in the Word." Teach him or her that there is eternal life that is glorious, and there is a way to find it...through Jesus Christ.
Maybe you are not a parent at all. Maybe you are a "child" or an adult reading this blog and something has given you thought. If so, please consider studying with someone near you that will help you find yourself living in the word of God and let's all meet in heaven!
May God Bless and I hope to see your children right where you left them...