I have always been fascinated by stories about the people God has chosen to use in significant ways. Two of my heroes are Charles and John Wesley. Charles penned hundreds of hymns, many of which are still sung by Christians all over the world. After observing the coronation of the King of England and hearing the masses lining the streets and singing the praises of the King, Charles penned the words, “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise.” His brother John committed his life to taking the gospel to England and through frontier America on horseback. You and I are in debt to John Wesley today for his passion for the gospel.
But I’m even more impressed when I consider the heroic faith of their mother, Susanna. The mother of 19 children, she understood the importance of raising a godly generation, in spite of a profligate husband who was almost never home. With all of her hardships, she would have had every excuse to complain and wallow in self-pity and bitterness, but instead she faithfully prayed for her children and instilled in them a desire to serve the Lord. Every day she gathered her children around her and read them the Bible and taught them His ways. Her life exemplifies the words of Samuel: “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right” (1 Samuel 12:23).
One of God’s plans for our homes is to provide an environment for grooming the next generation for godly impact, and you can count on it that Satan is not happy about that plan. Throughout history, we can see his efforts to dead-end the generational impact of God’s people. Beginning with Adam and Eve, children have been at risk. The murder of Abel at the hands of his very own brother is proof that Satan will do anything to extinguish the impact of godly offspring. And he hasn’t stopped.
The high cost of living has made two-career families common place today even among followers of Christ. Many families need two careers just to survive. As a result, quality time with our kids can suffer. Leaving our children to entertain themselves at the computer, which is a lot less painful than playing Chutes and Ladders with them on the floor, puts their hearts at jeopardy to the junk that the Internet offers. Our kids are in danger of suffering long term damage because of what they click on to. Not to mention what we permit them to see on TV, listen to on their iPods, or who we let them run with.
Parenting is big-time business and among life’s toughest assignments. Whenever things got really tough in our household, my wife Martie and I used to look at each other and say, “This too shall pass!” And that’s just the point, it passes really fast. You have the next generation in your grasp for just a fleeting season. Make the most of it. As they say, carpe diem—seize the day!
Is there another Susanna Wesley in the house? It’s your turn! Who knows what great things God has in store for your kids or the young people under your influence.
- In what ways have you observed Satan’s attempts to thwart generational impact in your country? In your neighborhood? In your home?
- Read Proverbs 3:1-6. According to this passage, whether you are reading from the perspective of a child and/or a parent, what can you do to help raise a godly generation?
- Children learn more from what they see in us than from what they hear from us. What important truths can your children learn by what they see in your life? Be specific.
- When was the last time you admitted that what your children saw you do was wrong and that you desired to be a better follower of Jesus?
- When was the last time that you admitted that you failed them and that you were committed to being a better parent?
- Do you want to be well liked by your children or do you want to be respected? Remember, parenting is not a popularity contest. True love sometimes says no.
- Are there organizations in your area that share God’s hope and help with families in crisis? Ask God to show you how you can get involved.