Three Things to Teach Your Children
by Rev. Randy Brown
Well, Happy Mother’s Day. I’m glad that you’re here. I need to start with a confession of such. I hope that’s okay. We can make a confession in church, can’t we? Well, my confession is this; that on holidays, like today and the big holidays, I stand before you in fear and trembling. I do that because sometimes there's a danger about holidays I fear because sometimes it has a tendency to separate us into two types of groups. Perhaps it’s the have’s and the have-not’s.
I am thankful for the family in which I grew up in. It was kind of a “Leave it to Beaver” kind of family and that’ll date some of you and if you don’t understand what I mean, then ask somebody that’s older. It was kind of a, at least we thought at that point, a perfect childhood, a perfect time of growing up and I realized later that not everybody comes from that sort of background. We’re divided into those that grew up in that era and those that didn’t.
Sometimes that’s a hard thing to do because as parents perhaps we have broken the hearts of our children, or perhaps our children have broken our hearts and we wonder, “Why can’t we have it like other people?” And, so, for me, that’s a dangerous kind of thing that just sometimes, it divides.
I say all that to say this: If you know somebody that is struggling in that way, struggling on a holiday, be sensitive to the struggle and perhaps a word of encouragement, perhaps a hug, a phone call, a pat on the back, some way of letting them know that you care about them and somebody cares. That would be a great thing for you to do. Sometimes it’s just not easy.
Not everybody has it like you and me, so for those that don’t, may we be sensitive to those needs. Let us be an encourager to them. Perhaps, there’s been an untimely death of a family member. Perhaps, that prodigal has left and hasn’t come home yet. We don’t know what the issue is, but let’s be sensitive.
There are no guarantees as a parent when it comes to raising children. There’s no instruction manual that comes with them, although there is the instruction that God shares in His word.
“Train up a child in the way they should go and when they’re old, they will not depart.”
Now, that doesn’t mean that they won’t leave, but it means that they’ll come back and we need to hold on to that. If you’re going through that, just know that they will return as God’s Word demands and God’s Word promises.
I want to switch gears for a few moments and I know we’re very limited in our time, so as I’ve told you before, I’m going to talk fast. You listen fast and we’ll be okay. To switch gears, I also have to tell you that my other confession would be that I’m a momma’s boy. Been that way all my life. Don’t know how to be anything but, but I do know that moms and grand moms and aunt’s and sister’s and Christian next-door neighbors, we all have, you all have the responsibility of being those nurturing persons in the lives of young people. You’re doing that. I see that from time-to-time. Continue to be that nurturing person in their lives, and this day is for you as well.
Now, there are three things I want to go to very quickly to talk about, three things that we should teach our children. This doesn’t matter who you are, you are a person of influence. I’m looking at influencers in the congregation this morning and all of you fall into that category. So, let’s eavesdrop a moment as I’m talking to the moms, let’s the rest of us eavesdrop on things that we need to teach those that are in our realm of influence.
The first is this, that we need to teach salvation. Hang in there with me for a moment. We’ll sing in the end. It’s not in the bulletin, but we changed it earlier and we’ll change it again. Happy the home where God is there. It’s a great song, it’s an appropriate song for our occasion today.
Many of you know that for the past several weeks, my brother and I have been going through my mother’s house, our mother’s house and discarding and dividing up and we’ve completed that process, thank you Jesus. The other day when it was the last time to go through the house, I had all kinds of flashback memories going through my mind. I remember all the kind of things that we did with cookouts and friends being over and ours was the place that if there was anything going on in the neighborhood, it was at the Brown’s house. The yard was always full of teenagers and the driveway too, for that matter.
As I went through the breakfast room, I remembered a conversation that I had with my mother. It was in June of 1971 and a lay witness mission had come to our church. On Saturday night of that lay witness mission when they asked for people who wanted to become a follower of Christ, I made that commitment that I’ve been trying to live for about 45 years now. I remember a few days after that, Saturday night, standing in that room. I could take you to the spot where I had the conversation with my mother of what had happened to me on Saturday night and the commitment that I made that Saturday night. I never will forget she said, “I can die a happy woman because I know that you know who Jesus is.”
That conversation I still remember some 45 years later, for she and my father saw to it that we were in a place that would create an environment where we could come to faith in Christ and salvation through Him. We need to teach our children salvation. We need to teach them a lot of things and there’s a lot of things I wish my father and mother had taught me. I could do better if I knew more about tools and cars and how to fix them, and I’m just not mechanical. It’s somebody else’s gift, but it’s not mine. I wish he had taught me about golf sooner, but of all the things I had wished he taught me, they all pale in comparison to being grateful for teaching me who Jesus is and how salvation is through Him.
Taught me work ethic, taught me not to back up for an honest day’s work and honest day’s pay, taught me that there is no other name like Jesus. Above everything else he taught, they taught, they taught us how salvation comes. If you read the sign out in front of the church this morning, if you haven’t, read it when you leave. It says, “Choosey mom’s choose Jesus.” Choosey dad’s do too. Joshua said, “Choose this day whom you’ll serve but for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.” We need to teach salvation.
Secondly, we need to teach scripture for the scripture says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” We’re told to put the word of God deep in our hearts that we might not sin against Him. We teach things that God will bring to our mind through the Holy Spirit at the moment that we need to be reminded.
If you’re going to teach scripture, start with John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Once you get that one down, go to I Peter 5:7, “Cast all of your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”
Once you get that one down, go to Psalm 121, “The Lord is my helper. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
When you get that one down, go to Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
You’ve heard the story of the little boy who had a memorization of scripture as an assignment and he got ready to, it was his turn, “Tell us the scripture you learned,” and he was ready and nervous to talk about the 23 Psalm. He began, “The Lord is my shepherd,” and he froze. He thought, “I’m going to try again.”
“The Lord is my shepherd,” and he froze. That went on four or five times and finally he said, “The Lord is my shepherd,” and he froze that time, but not to be outdone, he said, “And that’s all I need to know.” (laughter)
Amen to that, right? “The Lord is my shepherd and that’s all I need to know.”
Teach them the scripture. I told you last week about going on Saturday, a week ago yesterday to see a friend of mine who’s in a federal penitentiary in Talladega, Alabama. It’s a very minimum security prison and he’s got a lot of freedom, but do you know how my friend spends most of his day? Memorizing scripture.
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in either the Old or New Testament, hundreds of verses and my friend’s just about got it all memorized. What a way to spend time, the memorization of scripture. That’s not the only one he’s memorized there. I’m amazed at what has happened in his life during that time.
It’s important that we teach salvation. It’s important that we teach scripture. It’s important that we teach, thirdly and lastly, service. The scripture says, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, whose in heaven.” Scripture tells us that, “Faith without works is dead.” Scripture says, “Do not grow weary in well-doing,” that true religion is to take care of the widows and the orphans and keep oneself holy.
Those are the scriptures that tell us about service, but there’s another one and I think this hits at the heart of where we are as people. If I were to ask you, every one of you would raise your hand. If I were to ask you, “Do you want your children or your grandchildren or kids that you know ... Teachers, kids in your classrooms, do you want them to be great? Do you want them to be great people?” Every one of you would say, “Yes.”
Let me let you in on a secret: the scripture says how that can happen, that the greatest among you is the one who serves. Everybody can be great. I’m looking at a room full of people who have a potential for greatness if we’ll just serve one another in the name of Christ. If we’ll serve our community in the name of Christ, we’ll be a great people and it’ll be a great church.
Now, will it make the headlines and the six o’clock news? It doesn’t say that. It just says we’ll be great. Greatness comes through serving. May you and I learn and teach salvation, scripture and serving. That’s what we need to be teaching. That’s what we need to learn. Let’s do it. In the name of Christ, Amen.