This past weekend, I was honored to be invited up to Wisconsin to preach at my home congregation on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Lutheran grade school I graduated from.
Therefore the importance of a distinctively Christian education is on my mind. The debt I owe to my home congregation, school, and teachers for the sacrifices, time, and effort they put into educating me about the things of God and the things of this world is something I can never repay.
I cannot stress enough how important teaching our children the faith is. This is a repeated theme in the Bible, the command given to fathers being “…bring [your children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
His Word is commanded to be the center of our lives and households “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul… You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19).
The Christian faith is not just one thing to be taught among others if you can find time, but the singular most important gift you can give to your children.
Mathematics, grammar, science, and history (important as these subjects are!) pale in comparison to teaching our children of Christ and the gift of eternal life found in Him. This is the foundation for all other learning.
And this isn’t a push for Christian schools, though several exist in Pike County and I would encourage you to consider them, but rather stressing how important teaching the Word of God to your own children and grandchildren at home is.
They will not get it if you do not teach it and model it to them. No matter how faithfully you attend church, or bring your kids to Sunday school, that alone will not sustain them in the faith.
They need to hear it from their parents. You need to pray and have devotions with them. You need to open your Bible, read the stories together, and discuss them. They need to see you living as Christians, admitting when you are wrong and forgiving one another.
This is particularly a plea to Christian fathers. Man up. Do the work God has given you to do. Bring your children to church, lead them in prayer, and teach them the faith. It is a vital work with a lasting impact.
Dr. Gene Veith, in his great book “Family Vocation” (you can find it on Amazon.com) writes on the basis of his own research and available statistics, “If a father does attend church regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular)… It is as if the Lord is making it ridiculously simple for fathers to fulfill their duties to bring up children in the faith. All fathers have to do is take their children to church. And yet many fathers find that too difficult to manage.”
The Word of God is the greatest weapon we have, and a weapon we need. Because, make no mistake, we live in a world opposed to the Gospel. The Devil seeks nothing more than to destroy faith, and the easiest way for him to do that is if it is never taught in the first place.
Jeffrey Dock, Trinity and Good Shepherd Lutheran