And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." Acts 2:38-39
It's Friday again...beloved Friday. The beginning of the weekend, when fun things happen. One of those happy activities is what the boys call "Cleaning Day". Before you all puke from disgust thinking my boys are begging to help me dust like good little children, hear me out...Cleaning Day for me, means a movie for them. Once they've done some things to help (I do require some work), I put on a little cinema to help pass the time while I mop and clean bathrooms. It's a win for me because I need the little hands occupied while I deal with the dirtier stuff and it's a win for them because it's usually been a bit since they watched a movie.
So...this morning they were watching the Lion King, courtesy of my parents (thanks guys!). First off, I know some people have problems with Disney films. I think most of them are fine...just my opinion. Yet there are some thematic things to deal with since their mantra is mostly about believing in yourself and all that garbage. If we believe in ourselves, we're pretty much headed for ruin...but I'm digressing. I think, as parents, we don't necessarily have to be scared of these themes. We can talk about them ya know. Our kids do have to live in the world. And there are some great stories in Disney films too!
Anyhoo, as I was mopping the floor, I was listening to a part in the movie where Rafiki, the baboon, was telling Simba not to run from his past but to remember his history...to remember his family...to remember who he was. His Dad had been the king, and his grandpa was the king before him, and so on. Simba needed to remember who he was...he was the rightful king even if he didn't think he was worthy of it. As the scene continued on, I started thinking about how it was a beautiful picture of the kind of faith heritage we're trying to leave to our children.
First of all, when I start talking about a faith heritage, some people automatically think that means that we're trying to save our kids with our faith. Hear this, both Steve and I don't believe that we can do anything to save our kids. That's God's work. But we will do everything we can to point them to Him. I think most Christian parents feel this way; it's just that we don't always go about it in the same way.
For us, we want their history, their story to be based on The Story, the Gospel, namely Christ. Everything possible, in our family, will be built upon that rock. We'll do our best to teach them how to pray, how to have faith, to sup at the Lord's Table, to study the Bible, to seek forgiveness when needed and most importantly the ins and outs of the Gospel. We won't hold them back because they're small. We want them to learn now what it means to be a Christian and we'll include them as much as we can in our worship. We're not going to wait to do that until we're positively sure they have faith. For we don't know that we'll ever be able to know that for certain. That's for God to decide. So that's what we're striving for at least, though we fail along the way. This is their faith history.
Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. Luke 18:15-17
And then there is their actual, physical faith history. They come from a family that believes in Christ. Their grandparents believe (and generations before them) and have incredible faith; we, their parents, believe and we want to pass that faith on to them. Now when they grow up, they may wholeheartedly embrace that history as their own and again, that will be God's saving work or simply evidence that He already has saved them. Or they may walk away.
We can only pray that God will save them. And that if they do walk away, that God will chase them down. But for us and what we're responsible for, their history will be about believing. And if they do wander from the faith, you better believe we'll be there telling them, "Remember who you are. Remember where you come from. Remember your history." And we'll pray for them.
Of course now, when our children are small, they all say they believe (minus Elle that is). They all know why Jesus came and what He did. They all understand that they sin and are in need of grace. But I can't peer into their hearts. It's not up to me to judge their faith. It may not be as mature as mine, but Jesus Himself talks about the kingdom of God belonging to little children. And we all know that God does what He pleases. If He wants to save my kids at a young age, He can do it. I don't doubt that for second. So when they say they believe, I don't doubt it. And in the meantime, I can only water the seeds planted deep inside...it's up to God to make them grow.
"I [Paul] planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." 1 Cor. 4:6,7
And that fruit will be apparent over time.
Remember who you are...
They are ours. And we, their parents, are Christians. They are growing up amidst a rich faith heritage. So we will do our best to fill their history up with Christ and trust God to do the rest.