Greatest way to love children is to point them to Christ
Connie and I thought we would not be able to have children. Early in our marriage I was pastoring a rural west Kentucky church with — at one time — seven expectant mothers in attendance. Connie was not one of them. That is a difficult reality when you are praying and hoping for children of your own.
I remember where I was sitting when Connie broke the news that we were expecting a baby. Like many expectant parents, we prayed for a safe delivery of a healthy baby. When Khera, our oldest daughter, was born in Murray Calloway County Hospital at 3:15 a.m., we thanked God for her first birth and prayed for her second birth — the day when she would be born again into God’s family. We did the same thing when Anna, our second daughter, was born.
About six years later, I felt led of the Holy Spirit — while preaching a week- long revival service at Delmont Baptist Church in Trigg County — to go to the altar and pray specifically for God to save Khera. About two weeks after that prayer, Khera approached her mother saying that she needed to be saved. She became a Christian that evening. We prayed the same way for our young- er daughter, Anna, and she, too, has given her life to Christ.
I share this story in order to express a strong personal view that the greatest way we can love our children is to point them to Christ. As Christian parents and grandparents, we must share Jesus with them and help them grow in their knowledge of and love for the Lord. The greatest blessings we can impart to them are the spiritual ones. When our life is finished, the greatest impact we could possibly have made on our children will be the impact made for Christ in their lives.
While we cannot guarantee the spiritual direction of our children’s lives, we can nevertheless try to make a spiritual impact. Here are three actions parents and grandparents can take to try and make a spiritual impact on our children:
1. We must love God wholeheartedly: When it comes to spiritual leadership in the home, the adage that says “more is caught than taught” certainly rings true. We cannot transfer to our children what we do not possess personally. If we want to help our children live a life that is centered on Christ, then we must live a life characterized by a burning devotion to Him and a joyful obedience to His will.
2. We must personally let God’s Word change us: Children and grandchildren know that we aren’t perfect representatives of Jesus or the Christian life. They don’t expect us to be. They often see our blind spots even when we may have missed them ourselves. God’s Word sanctifies, or changes, us. We must not only have a real and vibrant relationship with God, but we must continually be shaped to become more like Jesus by spending time taking in His Word and applying it to our lives.
3.We must share God’s Word with them: Just as a mother bird brings the daily food to the baby birds in the nest, we must daily bring biblical truth and insights to those under our roof. When children see their parents and grandparents daily spending time in God’s Word and hear those daily insights being expressed to them with love and compassion, then God’s Word will likely impact their own life.
Of the 250,000 plus individuals who attend Kentucky Baptist churches, many of them are children. Of the four and a half million residents of our state, nearly 10 percent are 14 years old or younger. Some of these children have families who are concerned for their spiritual life as well as their eternal state, but many do not.
Would you join me in praying that God would stir us and Kentucky Baptist churches to have a renewed burden and plan for reaching and discipling not only the children in our own homes, but also the children of our commonwealth? We love our children, and the greatest way to show that love is to point them to Christ and teach them to live their lives under His Lordship.
Todd Gray is executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.