As a pastor, I am very thankful to God whenever I notice the presence of children in the church. To see them sitting on the front rows of chairs on the Lord’s Day at our worship services, or on Tuesday nights for our Bible study-cum-prayer meeting, always brings a surge of joy to my heart. How pleasing is their singing of hymns! They are ever eager to sing their choices of songs with the congregation. Their close proximity to the pulpit further gives me the pleasure of hearing their enthusiastic singing. I rejoice when they hurriedly come to join me to pray. I also thank the Lord that they listen to the preaching of the Word attentively. Whether it be on the Lord’s Day or other days, it is wonderful to see many parents making every effort to bring their children along to the Lord’s house.
Nonetheless, I am also concerned that some other children are afforded very few opportunities to come to church by their parents. Fathers and mothers, it is your God-given duty to provide as many opportunities as possible for your children to be involved in the church activities. Do not let your undue concern for their secular education and other activities deprive these young precious souls of their great need for spiritual nurture.
Parents, have mercy on the souls of your children! They may be little ones, but they are precious immortal souls. The care for their souls must far exceed the care for their mortal bodies! Have compassion on the poor souls of your “heritage of the LORD” (Psalm 127:3a)! Your vulnerable kids are day by day being sucked into the “miry pit” of anxiety for worldly success. Beware, for the world is relentlessly seeking to ensnare their souls! No God-honouring Christian parent can afford to be slack in ensuring that his or her children are nurtured in the most excellent Christian environment. Christian children’s participation in the church activities is far more important than their involvement in their school or other extra-curricular activities. If you only care for their earthly success, you are being downright irresponsible in your God-given task to nurture their souls!
By way of testimony, from my experience of bringing up three children together with my beloved wife, and having given over twenty years of my efforts to the pastoral supervision of the children in our church, I can sincerely and candidly vouch that nothing is more helpful and profitable for the nurture of Christian children than providing them with maximum (not minimum or occasional) opportunity to participate in the soul-nurturing activities of the church. Whether they be worship services, prayer meetings, children’s programmes, evangelism sessions, camps or retreats, let us not undervalue their great profitability in the nurture and protection of our children’s souls.
Regular participation in church events with children would mean concerted discipline and commitment on the parents’ part. Notwithstanding all the troubles of taking them to church activities, you would have done the most vital duty of guarding and guiding your children’s souls. Please do not fear or give in to weariness. The troubles that you bear to ensure the spiritual nurture and fortification of your children’s souls will not be in vain. With much prayer and thanksgiving, make every effort to bring your children to the church activities. Just as Jesus admonishes us, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
As a parting shot, Christian parents and all those who labour in the children’s ministry ought also to pray earnestly for the children’s repentance, salvation, spiritual growth, fruitfulness, etc., for they are dealing with precious immortal souls. Children are priceless in the sight of our Saviour. Their salvation and sanctification are His concern; so should they be the concern of everyone who ministers to them on Christ’s behalf. After all, Jesus specifically says, “Feed my lambs” (John 21:15b)!
“Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:20).
God commands us on our proper conduct towards our dear ones in the family. God is insistent on how His children would regard and relate to one another in the home. All our family relationships are to be managed and nurtured according to the divine guidelines given in His Word. If we truly fear God and maintain a life of piety, then it ought to be seen in our conduct at home, in our relationships to our parents, our children, our spouses, our siblings and our other relatives.
Christian children are commanded to obey their parents. This command to obey requires that children show respect to their fathers and mothers. Holy Scripture repeatedly enjoins children to “Honour thy father and mother” (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4; Ephesians 6:2). Children owe their parents an inward affection and regard. They must cultivate a courteous, respectful attitude towards their parents, and honour their parents with tokens of respect.
Even when children are grown up and their parents become aged, love and respect towards parents should continue. Proverbs 23:22 admonishes us, “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.” Likewise, Proverbs 19:26 cautions, “He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.” Let no Christian ever be disrespectful to their aged and needy parents. When parents grow weak and frail, when they become helpless, or somewhat burdensome, we must shower them with tenderness, love and respect. Let us recall all their efforts and good advice they have rendered to bring us up, and show our thankfulness through our deeds of kindness and respect. Some parents might have failed in their parental duties; yet, Christians are duty-bound to show respect and care towards them at all times.
Younger children and youths are to obey their parents “in all things”. Their attitude of obedience must be shown in all aspects of life. Only when the parents’ instructions are contrary to God’s Word are children allowed to disagree with their parents. Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” Obeying parents in the Lord is the right thing to do and is well pleasing unto the Lord.