By F. David Moyer
There’s no place like home. ” This is most certainly true, and it becomes more meaningful when we look at the importance God has placed upon the function of the home.
The home is the place where the first and most lasting impressions are made. Those who are tasked by God to operate the home – that’s you parents – need to feel most deeply the tremendous responsibility and privilege of the influence found there. The earthly direction and eternal destiny of those who dwell there is largely shaped by the home’s atmosphere. The home is where the where the spiritual impressions are most profound, and it is impossible to calculate just how deeply those impressions will effect the lives of the children.
In a recent poll published in The Broadcaster, the determining factor of the child’s growth to maturity and remaining faithful to the Lord was not due to the size of the congregation; was not due to the number of classes or programs provided by the church; and was not due to the efficiency of the “Youth Minister.”
The research showed that where both parents were faithful and active in the congregation, 93 percent of the children remained faithful into their adult years. If only one parent was faithful, the rate dropped to 73 percent. Where parents who were “reasonably active” (attended services but little involvement otherwise), the rate dropped again to 53 percent.
Now, here’s the shocker. In cases where both parents attended only infrequently, the rate of faithfulness in children nose-dived to a mere 6 percent (stats published in Pulpit Helps, Jan. 88, p. 18). Just how important is the influence of the home?
The words of Solomon ring loudly and clearly, and need to be practiced, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). What are you, as parents, doing to train up your children?
The Bible teaches that the children are to obey their parents (Eph. 6:1-2). Sadly, however, some parents have the mistaken notion that children are the slaves and the parents are the masters. You may get compulsory obedience by beating a slave, but you will never get their honor and respect. Provoking a child to anger creates only rebellion, and that enforced obedience will last only as long as the child is within grasp of the parent. When he leaves the home, he will go a different way.
The key is, “Provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Solomon says to “train,” and Paul says to “bring” them up. That is your responsibility. Is there a correlation between “training” and “bringing” a child to the Lord? It has to do with your nurturing love, demonstrated in your devotion to the Lord. When your children see your values, they will follow you, that’s the way they know how to go . . . and when they are old, they will demonstrate the values you have modeled for them when they were little children in your home.
When is the last time you sat down with your children and read a Bible story to them? When is the last time You Prayed together? When is the last time you discussed the sermon with them, and inquired about what they learned in class? How often do you sing spiritual songs while driving in the car? How often do you use the opportunities to talk about God and his word when seeing flowers, clouds, and grasshoppers? There are so many ways you can nurture and train your child in God’s way.
Moses spoke these important words to parents, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon 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 door-frames of your houses and on your gates” (Deut. 6:6-9). It sounds like God is wanting parents to take the lion’s share of responsibility in training up the children!
No place like home? Yes, nothing else like it – the most important teaching place in the world.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 24, p. 740
December 15, 1988