January 13, 2006

God's Presence Through Parents

Deuteronomy 6:4-12

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6


A recent newspaper article carried a picture of a one-year-old praying in a high chair with eyes closed and hands folded in front of her face. The caption below the picture said that her dad used to hold her on his lap, read the Bible, and say, "Time to pray." Now she won't eat unless they've prayed. Of course. This is God's promise to parents: Train up children in the way they should go, and when they have grown they will not turn from it. Commenting on the fifth commandment (about honoring father and mother), Lewis Smedes says that parents are "God's storytellers." God shows his presence through believing parents, and it's up to parents to make sure that children sense the presence of the Lord. Some parents try to give their children the best things money can buy while neglecting to bring them into a relationship with Jesus. Billy Graham once told a story of a teenage girl who was in a fatal car accident. As she lay dying, she whispered to her mother, "Mother, you taught me everything. You taught me how to smoke and how to drink, but you never taught me how to die. Mother, teach me quickly, because I'm dying." It's up to parents to train their children so that they learn to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and strength. It's the greatest gift we can give them.

Lord, make us parents and grandparents faithful in training our children in your way. Help us to show them your presence. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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