“…I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15).
He was a great man! He was a good man! He had a quiet but dignified presence about him! He was humble and kind, loving but firm, strong and courageous! He was a long-time member of the Church. He was an elder in the church where I grew up and he had an unmistakable influence on my life. Yes, he inspired me and encouraged me by his example and life to want to serve in the kingdom of the Lord, the church Jesus purchased with his own precious blood (Acts 20:28). We’ve probably all had just such an example that had this kind of impact on our lives. The question for our time is who among us will have this kind of influence on the young now! This is our time … this is our opportunity to help shape and influence young hearts and lives to serve the living and true God! Are we taking care of business?
The Lord only gives each of us a limited amount of time to live and walk on this earth (Hebrews 9:27) and every day when we wake up, we have the privilege to decide how we’re going to spend those precious moments. We all understand, don’t we, there are simply no ‘do-overs’ … there are no ‘the next-time-around to get-it-right’ … there are no ‘second-chances’ to make and do something differently! But every one of us can learn and build on our mistakes, oversights and poor choices. Every one of us has the power of influence and it can be an especially strong factor in the lives of our young people (of any age).
Isn’t it true that sometimes as adults we can be just a little slow for whatever reason to recognize that young people are watching us? The young watch their parents, grandparents, teachers and peers in life and it is no different in the church! Haven’t we all seen the little one standing up on the pew or the lap of a parent moving their hand like a song leader? Understanding that we don’t worship and serve the Lord to be seen by men, others still see us, our young included. If questions were asked of teenagers and even younger about their parents/grandparents’ habits and mannerisms in life, not only could they tell us, they could in many cases SHOW us! It is the same in our worship and service to God! This is yet another way we help to teach our young. We want them to “grow up in Christ”! We want them to be Christians! We want them to be faithful to God regardless of anything else attained in this life. Very simply … we want them to go to Heaven!
There are moments in life when we watch our young do, say or be something … and our hearts are filled with pride and our eyes are filled with tears! We all know about those moments, don’t we? The joy of seeing, hearing our young confess their faith in Christ and being buried with Him in baptism for the forgiveness of their sins is at the pinnacle of those moments! Having had the pleasure of helping all three of our children obey the Gospel, helping one of our grandchildren and witnessing the oldest grandson be helped by his father/our son to obey the Gospel is a joy that is almost indescribable!
Watching our young people begin to grow spiritually is just as rewarding. To see a young man begin to read Scripture publicly, serve on the Lord’s Table, lead public prayer is just the best! These young men will hopefully become the future leaders in the church, but it will not happen by accident! They must be encouraged, developed, instructed, guided and perhaps most of all see this kind of involvement and participation in each of us! The same can be said about our young ladies as they learn the joy of teaching and serving the needs of others, etc. A determining factor in the future of the church and our young is what they see and hear in each of us! In a very real sense … we are a living commercial for what it means to worship and serve the Lord!
- Are we committed to serving the Lord with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind?
- Are we basing our faith, life and service on a “thus says the Lord” or ‘this is what I like or think?’
- Are we critical, perhaps apathetic or maybe even indifferent to the Church and to pleasing the Lord?
If we want to bring our young to the place of service and obedience to the Lord … then we must take the words of Hebrews 10:22 to heart:
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22).
Bill Fairchild, Jr.