Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock on Parenting
Mahatma Gandhi, the well-known leader from India once said, “Live as though you were to die tomorrow and learn as though you were to live forever.” I love it! Likewise, we must learn to be trained as though we are going to live to be a hundred. We must do whatever it takes. We must keep going until the very last tick on that clock. There was a wonderful 92-year-old lady in our congregation who I watched pick up a CD of one of my messages as she was leaving church one Sunday. I was thinking to myself as she ambled out the door, “The truth is, she could preach a better sermon and knows more on the topic than I do,” and yet she wanted to continue growing! We’re never too old to learn.
Let’s see what God says about eternal training:
1. Train, Using Every Resource Possible
The word “train” in this verse is the only time in Scripture where the King James translators rendered it in this manner. Most often, it is the word dedicate. Consider this example in Deuteronomy 20:5, “And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, what man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.” Dedicating your home was a very prominent thing in the Middle East. It was something that, for the most part, everybody in that culture did. It was a serious act of consecration. In essence, they were making a statement like, “this home cost us a lot… this home has taken a lot out of us and we want it to be used for the honor and glory of the Lord. We now set it aside to be used for Him.” When they would dedicate a home to the Lord they would pray, praise and worship, for it was a very serious consecration.
Joshua dedicated (trained) his home to God, “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). Training is more than education. It is more than a simple transferring of knowledge. To train is to prepare children for what they were designed. Just as a house is designed to be lived in, so children must be dedicated to serve God.
Training is more than simply giving out facts. Too many parents leave the transferring of ideals to whatever method they come. The University of North Carolina identified, in an insightful study, that there are over 150 different teaching methods. Here is just a partial list: lecture, class discussion, recitation, discussion groups, presentation from a panel, presentations by student panel, student reports, informal debate, small groups, task oriented discussion groups, collecting items, reading assignments, outlining portions of textbooks, formal debates, crossword puzzles, cooking foods, construction of vocabulary lists, diaries, dancing, panel discussions, term papers, jigsaw puzzles, testing, pretesting, gaming, simulation flashcards, flowcharts, interviews, models, music, drama, role playing, textbook study, notebook, quiz down, pen pals, photographs, slides, film strips, puppets, problem solving survey and storytelling. The point? The point is, let’s get the truth into hearts! However, whenever, wherever…let’s get it into those little hearts. Whatever it takes, train up a child. Training is “dedicating.” Dedication is a serious and deep commitment. Parents must not leave this to chance. Use every single method you can to truly dedicate them.
2. Train Them at The Best Times
“Train up a child in the way he should go…” (Proverbs 22:6).
Notice who the scripture says to train – a child. The definition of a child in the Hebrew Bible at times means baby, but most often it is referring to a young person. In each era of life there seems to be a “port of entry” into the spirit that is unique. For example, I don’t think that a two-year-old is going to be able to listen to a thirty-minute speech and get much application out of it. They might get truth from a thirty-second one though. Each era has its own capabilities. Children can learn extraordinarily difficult things in an incredibly short amount of time. For example, our firstborn son, Luke, was talking in small sentences by the time he was one, and I am not exaggerating! To have gone from the womb to a 1-year-old and to not only be saying words, but sentences, is just amazing. Oh the power of the human mind! I have tried to learn some Spanish as an adult. Thirty years later about all I know is, “Taco.” I’m not sure why we dumb down spiritual training. If children can learn a language when they’re 9 months old, why wouldn’t they be able to learn a spiritual language in their youth, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.