Summary: Important issues in the Christian upbringing of a child
Baptism of Jack Tucker 08-09-02
Story: When Allied troops captured a young American fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan, last year a major American newspaper wrote the following:
“The parents of John Walker Lindh, the child of privilege turned Taliban terrorist didn’t put their foot down when he announced that he was going to drop out of school and when he decided to become a Muslim. Indeed they were actually proud of him for pursuing an alternative course.
His mother said it was “good for a child to find a passion”.
They didn’t object when he asked them to pay his way to Yemen, nor when his new circle of friends included gunmen.
As long as he could remember, his oh- so- progressive parents had answered “Yes” to his every whim. The only thing they insisted on was that nothing was insisted on..
“Newsweek” called it ‘truly perplexing’ that Walker was attracted to this narrow intolerant sect.”
The newspaper went on to say:
“There’s nothing perplexing about it.
He craved standards and discipline. Mum and Dad didn’t offer any; the Taliban did.
If his parents had been less concerned with open mindedness and more concerned with developing their son’s moral judgement, he wouldn’t have ended up where he did.
His road to ruin didn’t begin in Afghanistan, it began with his parents who never said “No!”.
(My thanks for the story goes to “Word for Today” Wed, Sept 4th 2002)
This afternoon Jonathan and Antonia have come here today because they want to say that they intend to bring Jack up in the Christian faith.
They chose the Old Testament reading from Proverbs and I would like to touch on a couple of the verses:
1. A morally good upbringing
The first verse is:
“My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments”
TS Eliot wrote in Four Quartets:
“In my beginning is my end”
In other words, the input of parents into the early life of a child will generally determine the pattern of life for years to come.
The most obvious input of the Christian faith is its moral teaching. The book of Proverbs is full of this. For example, it will be very important to teach Jack right from wrong and how to choose the company he keeps.
2. A personal relationship with God
The second verse that I would like to look at from our Proverbs reading this afternoon is:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Pr. 3:5)
The Christian faith is more than moral teaching. It is about finding a personal relationship with God
The Christian message is that man is separated from God by his wrongdoing. Jesus came to earth and died on the Cross to reconcile us to God.
But although Jesus died on the Cross two thousand years ago, He rose again from the dead and is alive today.
And because he is alive today, we can have a personal relationship with him.
We can do this simply by confessing our sins and asking Him into our lives.
Once we have this relationship with Christ we learn to “ trust in Him and not to lean on our own understanding.”
Jesus himself put our relationship with Him like this. He said : “Abide in me and I in you” (Jn 15:4)
So what can we do practically for Jack.
Some of you will be an active influence Jack’s life. Others will not have that close relationship with him.
However we can all pray for Jack
We can pray that - when he is old enough to decide for himself - he will take up his baptismal vows and decide to live the Christian life.
We can pray that he will turn to Christ and come to know Jesus as a personal Saviour.
Story: My Aunty Molly was a Roman Catholic nun. She used to pray regularly for me and others my family.
For 17 years of my life, it seemed as if her prayers were unanswered. Yet at the beginning of Jan 1972, I had an encounter with Jesus and decided to become a Christian. And later on my sister Sue followed suit.
So I would like to encourage you all to pray for Jack and do not give up.
You may think that your prayers are getting nowhere. But don’t give up.
Prayer is extremely important because God has chosen to work through prayer.