In our first church, my wife was involved in the outreach ministry. On occasion, she would send a hand-written letter on church stationary and a gospel tract to absentees and prospects. One day, she got such a letter marked “return to sender.” One of our sons went with her to the mailbox that day. He wondered if there was any mail for him, so Terri gave him the return to sender letter. He was old enough to read most of the words, so he sat down and started reading the Eternal Life tract. My son then wanted to know more about becoming a Christian. A few hours later, Isaiah called me to tell me he had received Jesus and accepted the gift of eternal life. Today, Isaiah has a family of his own and he teaches Sunday School and plays piano in our church.
I for one, want my children and grandchildren to know Christ as Savior. I do not try to coerce or manipulate them, but I have and I will share the gospel with them as God gives me the opportunity and I will teach them the Bible. Our world is very deliberate about influencing our children at school and through the media. Satan is very active in some of the ways our society impacts children. Some public-school leaders desire to teach their version of sex education at younger and younger ages. I remember when Heather has Two Mommies was released in 1989 and since then the market has been flooded with homo-sexual themed children’s literature. In addition, many children’s books propagate a message of intolerance toward the idea that the world was created by Intelligent Design and belief in the Bible. When a child begins to have a relationship with Christ, it becomes a shield against the anti-God, anti-Bible messages of our day.
Throughout the Bible we read of people having a relationship with God early in life. Samuel heard God speaking to him at a very young age. Josiah became a strong spiritually-minded king at eight years old! David and others were quite young when they encountered and served the Lord. No doubt these children knew God and their relationship with God guided them throughout their lives. Jesus Himself was very open towards children and accessible to them. For us to ignore or minimize the spiritual lives of children would be foolish as well as unbiblical.
The Bible reminds us that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, judgement and righteousness. When the Holy Spirit begins convicting the heart of a child in such a way, God wants that child to be saved. Who are we to argue? That is when parents and church leaders need to be able to step in and help the child come to faith in Christ. In Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” He reminded us that children do not need to become like adults in order to be saved, but adults do need to become like children to be saved.
I heard about a young couple who argued about getting their children involved in church. The father wanted them to be exposed to the Bible and have the opportunity to trust Christ. The mother wanted to wait until the kids were teenagers before they learned about God and “religion.” She reasoned that they needed to be old enough to decide for themselves. The dad dropped the subject and went next-door to borrow the neighbor’s roto-tiller. He plowed up a 10 x 10 section of the back yard and came into the house. The wife was thrilled that he was finally going to plant her flower garden. She asked, “What are you going to plant?” The husband replied, “Oh, I think I’ll just let the garden decide what it wants to grow.” The point was made and the next Sunday the family began to attend church more faithfully. No body wants spiritual weeds in their child’s life.