“Who Shall Lead Them?”
“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the Kingdom of heaven.”
Second only in importance to their first birth, or maybe even first, is the second birth of our children. I’m referring to their salvation…their spiritual birth. The Bible says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Those are the words of Jesus spoken to a man, Nicodemus.
This is not supposed to be a preachy book, and I certainly won’t lecture here. But the most important thing our child will ever do is to make sure when they die, they will go to Heaven.
In the past two months, three of my grandchildren have received Jesus as their Savior. So maybe this is what prompted me to write a chapter on the Salvation of our eight children.
In my way of thinking, God created woman to bear children. He formed her in such a unique way, not only physically, but also emotionally and psychologically, that her very nature enables her to care for her children exactly the way God needs a child to be cared for. And in no way another person can care for that child. There are circumstances, for example, when a mother dies giving birth that someone else must take over this awesome responsibility. I know personally many, many adoptive mothers who love their children as much as if she had brought them into the world.
But there is something in every child given to him that only his mother gave him. I often tell women, “God tailor-made you for your child. You’re exactly what he needs.”
I never attempt to set down patterns or footprints in this book for you to follow, because my children are different from yours. Not two of my eight children are alike. They have different needs, even now as adults, and they certainly had different needs when they were children, and weak areas in their lives that differed from those of their seven siblings.
You ask for wisdom to take care of the unique needs of your children. Read James 1:5, and ask God for wisdom. Read a Proverb every morning before starting your mothering tasks. I do, even though my children are all grown now, and have children of their own. But you never stop being a mother.
While our children are different, with different needs, and differing personalities, there is one need every child has. And that is the need of a personal Savior…a need to prepare himself for eternity.
I’m going to say something that perhaps you will disagree with. It’s not up to you to lead your children to the Lord. It’s your responsibility to train them in such a way, that when they reach the “age of accountability” they will respond to the Holy Spirit’s calling.
I am going to be very open in this chapter, and a bit controversial. We have such idealistic dreams as parents, don’t we? We envision a lot. I remember when our second child, Joel Edward was born, Tommy was almost two. I always had visions of gathering my children around me, donned in jammies, sweet smelling from their baths, and reading to them. I could see them with their little heads against me, hungry to hear more about the book I was reading to them.
To my dismay, it didn’t happen…at least not right away. Joel was about two years old, and I had already put baby Philip to bed. We lived in a little village where absolutely nothing happened after 7:00. That night I purposed in my heart to carry out that vision. I had three little boys, and now was a perfect time to start making my dream a reality.
So I sat down on our couch in our little tiny mobile home, opened a book, and said, “Come here, boys, I’m going to read you a story before you go to bed.” Tommy crawled up on my right, and Joel grabbed a book of his own, and crawled up on my left. Undaunted, I plowed ahead, reading, even though I knew their baby minds still couldn’t grasp all the words on the page. I noticed Joel being a little rough with his book, so I said, “Joel, don’t tear the book. You should be nice to your books. Did you know books are our friends? One of these days, you’re going to learn to read, and you will have many, many books for your friends.” He took his book in his chubby little hands, raised it up, and said, “Well, Howdy!”
And so it is with our children’s salvation. We dream of the day we can show them how when they die, they can go to Heaven. But don’t get ahead of the Holy Spirit. If you do your part…reading the Bible to them every day, even before they can read and write, keeping them in church, being a Godly example, making sure the people who touch their lives are Godly people, praying with them, teaching them to memorize Scripture…you can trust the Holy Spirit to touch their little hearts when they come to that age.
A few days ago, I was out soul winning. I came upon a young man in his twenties. I said, “Do you know when you die that you’re going to Heaven?” He said, “When I was 8 years old, I was baptized in a Baptist Church. But I had no idea what was going on. My mother took me by the hand during the invitation, and pulled me down to the front. There was a big baptistery on the platform, and what could I do in front of 500 people? I was only 8 years old. That’s why I don’t think a child should be baptized until they’re 14 years old.”
While I felt sorry for this confused young man, I don’t think we can really put an age on when a child comes to the age of accountability. But it’s a long, long time before he reaches his teen years, I’ll guarantee you.
You should be very, very careful who teaches your children. Two of our children were presented the plan of salvation before they were ready to be saved. These were good people. But they tried to force a decision before the Holy Spirit had worked in their little hearts. We never pressured our children into being saved. But they were saturated with the Word of God. We gathered around our table every morning before breakfast, and had Bible reading and Scripture memorization. We never missed church. We did our best to put a guard around them, as far as sinful activities were concerned. But we never pressured our children into making a profession of faith.
All of our children are saved. Afterward, my husband baptized each of our children in different rivers in Chiapas. I felt sorry for this young man a few days ago, as I explained to him that baptism is a work. It isn’t part of our salvation. But I’ve heard my husband say too many time to remember how many, that “if you’re saved, and don’t want to get baptized, I don’t believe you’re saved.” I believe a desire to be baptized after salvation, is as natural as wanting to wear a wedding band after you get married.
Bringing a baby into the world physically is an awesome experience. But it’s as natural as breathing. So also, leading a child to a spiritual re-birth should be natural, and a wonderful experience for us as parents.