Samuel is lost! We were at the amusement park with the family. Zory was with Samuel and they both got distracted, then, the worst thing we could have ever imagined happened. Samuel got lost. We started screaming his name, looking for him everywhere. I was not there with Zoraida, so, when I heard the screaming, I quickly went to where she was and asked her what had happened. We started looking for Samuel desperately. The thoughts that went through my mind were indescribable, things like the ones you can see on a TV series like Special Victims Unit, stolen kids. It was a nightmare! Then we finally found him playing, as if nothing had happened. I would not wish the feelings we experienced back then on any parent.
Today, there are parents who have lost their children and do not know it. Other parents have already noticed that their children are lost, so they are desperate and do not know what to do. I am not talking about the children who get lost in the mall, beach, amusement parks, or who left the house and never came back. I am talking about children who have gotten lost because they do not want to have anything to do with church, much less know God.
We can see some statistics on what the relationship of young people is like with the church: 59 percent of young people between 19 and 29 years old leave church, 50 percent of those young people are significantly frustrated church-wise, 57 percent are less active than when they were 15 years old, and 38 percent went through a period in which they questioned their faith.
I fear that today a generation who does not know God might be rising. The same that happened when the fathers of the people of Israel did not follow the divine commandment to educate their children for eternity and they ended up raising a generation who did not know God.
Let us study a fascinating but sad story. The people of Israel had gotten out of Egypt in order to go to the Promised Land. But the journey that was only to last just a few days turned into a 40-year-journey because God said that due to their disobedience, that whole generation would not enter the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb could enter.
Joshua led the people of Israel to the conquest of the Promised Land, and had great experiences with them. They respected Joshua the same way they respected Moses. But while the people were celebrating the victories they were achieving, something was happening behind the curtain that was undermining God’s people. The people and their leaders were neglecting the divine order, which was about to produce ravages on God’s people.
In the book of Judges, chapter 2:8-11 we can read the following: “Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.”
After that whole generation was brought to their ancestors, another generation grew up who did not know the Lord, nor what He had done for the people of Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served Baal. Here, we can see the sequence: Joshua died at the age of 110. The following verse says that the generation who knew God also died. And later, a whole generation rose up who did not know Jehovah, nor the work He had done for the people of Israel. How did something like that happen? How could a whole generation who did not know God rise up?
Now, from the Genesis to Joshua, the knowledge of God had been transmitted in verbally. There were no books, papers, or computers. How could the knowledge of God be transmitted if there were no computers or books? Parents had the responsibility before God to transmit all the teachings to their children verbally. If a generation who did not know God rose up, it was simply because their parents did not fulfill their responsibility to raise their children for the eternal life.
The same thing that is happening nowadays happened back then. The only way we can stop this epidemic is by going to the Bible and studying the reasons these mistakes were made, and the solution God gives to those mistakes so that we do not have the same problems.
It is imperative to understand that, as parents, we are God’s stewards. This is the message we can find in the first chapter of the Bible. God creates man in His own image. God’s image has been interpreted in three dimensions: structural, relational, and functional images of humankind. Humans have a structure that allows them to think, create, and act. That structure leads them to have an intimate relationship with God and with their neighbor because that is the reason for their creation. The structure and relationship lead them to fulfill the functional aspect of God’s image. Humankind was created to fulfill a function: to be God’s stewards for all that was created. Genesis 1:28 says: “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” This means that God is the Creator of all things and humankind is the administrator.
Therefore, when God gives you a son or a daughter, He is not giving you a gift so you can do whatever you want with him or her. God is giving you that child so that you prepare him/her for Eternity. Now, this gets a little more complicated than that, because when you start seeing your parenting from the stewardship perspective, everything changes. When we talk about stewardship, many times we think it is regarding tithes or offerings, but, stewardship is much more than that. God saved a tree inside the Garden of Eden that belonged to Him and He forbade Adam to touch it.
When I see myself as God’s steward regarding my children, I cannot see them as a problem, or as a burden. I must see them as a blessing because those children God gave me do not belong to me, they belong to God and He will hold me accountable for what I did with them.
Each generation must transmit a legacy to the generations that follow
God gave parents commandments about the spiritual legacy they must transmit.
In order for us to understand how this is possible, we need to understand some sociological aspects. Each generation is held accountable for the generations that follow.
Zoraida and I made a mistake regarding our children, we did not encourage them to speak Spanish inside our house. If we, as parents, do not teach them Spanish, they will find it difficult to learn it at school. It is very likely that my grandchildren are not going to be able to speak Spanish because my children do not speak Spanish, and, that my great-great-grand children are not going to be able to speak to family members who only speak Spanish. Do you see the effect a generation has on other generations?
I am going to give you some Biblical evidence about what I am writing here. In the book of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, we read: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” In Isaiah 54:13, we read: “your children will be taught by the Lord.” In Joel 1:3, we read: “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.”
Let us analyze these verses: parents are called to love Jehovah with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our minds. The teachings parents receive from God must be repeated to their children, they will speak of them inside the house, while walking, and when they are going to sleep. That means that parents will be speaking continuously of God to their children. They, in other words, will be educating their children for Eternity. Educating my children for Eternity is my first priority.
If Joshua 2:10 says that a generation rose up who did not know God, it is simply because parents failed to fulfill God’s order to educate for Eternity. God does not do things without a purpose. If God gave children to the people of Israel, it was for them to prepare those children for Eternity. The raising of a generation who did not know God brought great sadness to God’s heart.
Parents back in the times of the people of Israel must have educated their children in their homes and taken them to the temple and schools to be educated there. The prophets were their teachers.
That is why I say that Christian education is not optional for parents. It is not the school or church’s responsibility, but the parents’. One day we will have to be held accountable before God for the spiritual legacy we transmit to our children. If I have full responsibility, I cannot present any excuses in order for me to be released form that responsibility.
In your case, is the story repeating itself?
We forget that we are stewards of our children before God.
There is no time for personal study or to study with our children. The media is raising them now.
Helen White says that parents have neglected the responsibilities God gave them, and they must face this reality when the final judgment comes. Then, the Lord will ask: “Where are the children I gave you so that you could prepare them for me? Why are they not at my right hand?” Many parents will see then that an unwise love blinded them from seeing their children’s flaws, unable to change the development of a character that is not suitable for the life in Heaven. Other parents will see they did not give their children time and attention, love, and care. Their neglect of their duties made their children what they are. (Testimonies for the Church 4:424).
Can you imagine being in Heaven with your children? The happiness it will bring? Can you imagine what would happen if we, as a church, work together to educate our children for Eternity? Think of this church in 10 to 20 years in the future. Where will it be?
God is answering my prayer not in a way I would have wanted Him to answer it, but since I am a steward, I cannot decide in my children’s place. It is God’s decision what He wants to do with them.
What God loves the most in this world is our children. In the book of Isaiah 49:25 we read: “I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.”
Maybe you are sadden by the thought of how you raised your children and you did the best you could, but they are far from God’s way or the church. God says: when you educate your children for Eternity, I will fight your battle.
Maybe someone who is reading this post has not clearly understood these truths and feels guilty before God. But you still have time to help your children go back to God’s way, to be active in church, to have faith and do well. When raising your children for Eternity is your first priority, God will defend you, fight that battle for you, and save your children.
These truths are also good for you, since we are stewards of our own lives too. Seek God, His way, follow His commandments, keep His truth in your heart, and He will help you fight that battle.
I invite you today to share with us, in the comments section, what other ways we can be better stewards of our own lives and the lives of our children before God. Thank you and God bless you.