Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.
A Most Precious Family Heirloom
I have a photograph which is very dear to me, taken on the day of my confirmation. It shows four men standing in a line, with about one foot and twenty years between each of them. Earlier that day, I had made a public confession of my faith in Jesus together with my fellow eighth-graders and then received Holy Communion for the first time. After the service I posed for that picture with my father, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather. Four generations who had grown up in the Christian faith thanks to the faithfulness of each generation that came before them. I am eternally grateful to these men and their Christian wives for passing down their most valued possession—the knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ and a commitment to remain in his Word.
I learned in catechism class all those years ago that I inherited my sinful nature from my parents, and they inherited it from theirs, and so on. Every generation passes along original sin to the next. We are born outside of God’s grace, foreigners to his kingdom, and ignorant of his promises. That is why every generation needs to hear of their desperate need for a Savior and the good news of God’s forgiveness. Every child needs to learn about their Savior Jesus who loves them to death and beyond. Even Christian parents can’t simply assume that their children will somehow pick up their faith by osmosis. A conscious effort needs to be made to share God’s Word with our children.
In more recent family pictures, I am farther up the generational ladder. Over the years nothing has given me greater joy than to worship together with my wife and children. And what a privilege it is now on those occasions when my grandson sits on my lap in the church pew! I watch as his daddy reminds him to fold his hands when we pray. I love to hear his little voice sing Bible songs with his mommy. I’m thankful their young family attends a church where they receive support and encouragement in raising their child to walk with Christ.
If your family does not attend church together, it’s not too late! It may seem challenging at first but remember that this is God’s will for your family, so he will most assuredly help you. Your efforts to speak with your children about Jesus today will bring blessings to your family for generations to come.
Heavenly Father, thank you for making me your child. Help me teach my family about your love so that together we may receive your grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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