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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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Partners With God

Charles Swindoll reminds us that children are a challenge. He writes, "Remember waiting for that first baby — the anticipation of bringing home this soft, cuddly, wonderful, delightful infant? And finally the birth and everything's fine and a day or so later you come home. The first week you realize that what you have is really a cross between The Terminator and The Swamp Thing. I mean, this creature sleeps when you're awake and is awake when you're asleep, and has a set of lungs to drown out a Concorde jet. My wife used to say, "Honey, I'm sort of forgetting what our baby's face looks like, I'm spending so much time at the other end' " (The Tale oldie Tardy Oxcart, p 72). Raising children is not only Mom and Dad's most important job, it is probably their hardest one. The Bible's job description for parents is summed up in two familiar but packed passages: "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6) and "You, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). That first passage was written about 3,000 years ago and the second one about 2,000 years ago. From ancient times to the modem age, nobody anywhere has ever improved on God's plan for every home with children to have two youth ministers! Mom and Dad are on-site trainers/teachers, appointed by God for the long-term task of building a man/woman out of a boy/girl. What a challenge and an opportunity! Paul Faulkner has written, "Being a parent is a fantastic challenge. The God-given potentials of any child are the most intriguing and exciting in all creation. The capacity for good or bad, for ministry and service or destruction, are all there, wrapped up in the frail body of a new life" (What Every Family Needs, p 137). 

We know the Bible takes a high view of children. Jesus taught, "Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" and "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3; 9:14). But the Bible also takes a high view of parents! Parents are partners with God in the awesome task of not only bringing a new life into the world, but in nurturing and training it toward God and guiding it toward Heaven. Paul Faulkner again: "When we bring a child into the world, we start a soul toward eternity. . .a soul that will never die. A soul that will spend eternity in either Heaven or hell" (What Every Family Heals, p 129). Parents, do what you can, while you can, to train your children in the way they should go.

Dan Gulley
church of Christ
Smithville, Tennessee