I spent this week in the Steen’s Mts with my 2 sons, Sam and Seth, camping. They archery hunted for elk and deer and I fished in Fish Lake, which we were camped next to. I had such a good time being with them, and had constant memories pop into my head of all the hunting trips we have been on over the years. I enjoyed watching them in action as I observed good, godly character in them, and felt confident that they would run the race God had for them with faithfulness and endurance. All 8 of our kids are high character Christians who are living for the Lord, and doing well in life. I realize there are a lot of variables on how a baby will turn out when they finally reach the age of 40 years old, and many of them are outside the parents control, but I also know that the quality of the parenting is the major factor in the end result. As I think about what Patty and I did as parents, I do so not to feel good about myself, but to be able to help and coach parents today who are faced with 100 times the challenge we had when we raised our kids. We got tons of counsel from successful parents when our kids were little and I would like to give tons to those who want it.
One of the key things we did with our kids was instill in them a love for the church. The church is the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, Jesus gave His life for the church, the church will be the eternal companion of Jesus. So many people have a low view of the church today and are critical of just about everything concerning the church. They can’t get past the sins and flaws in the people that they see and hear in the church, and their own opinions of how things ought to be done in the church constantly sours their attitude. Loving the church means seeing the church as Jesus does and being part of the reason the church grows in Christ-likeness.
We instilled a positive attitude by having them serve and work in the church beginning when they were barely walking. Some of my favorite pictures of our kids is when they were packing lumber for a building project at the church. We taught them early about giving their money sacrificial for the work of the church. Patty would give them money when they would get the sermon notes all filled out correctly. Most importantly we modeled loving our church by the way we talked about everything in it, and by our own devotion to it. We loved the church like we love Jesus, and we were devoted to our church like we are to Jesus.
God blesses some people, He blesses some people a lot. His blessings are conditional. When we love His Bride He blesses us, and the more we love His Bride the more He blesses us. Teaching our kids to love the church is setting them up for great blessings from the God of the universe.