October 3, 2010
Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Text 2 Timothy 1:5-6
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Many of us spend a lot of time planning what will happen to all of our earthly possessions when we finally go home to the Lord. In the fall of 2008 one of the adult Sunday school classes based on the book “Splitting Heirs” by Ron Blue dealt with many aspects of Christian Stewardship in estate and gift planning. Much information and many options were presented. Responsible stewards try to leave or give their stuff that God has loaned us by writing a will. This is where things can get difficult, especially when there are minors involved. I am reminded of sage advice I received in my entrepreneurial days. “There are only two times when you need to use a lawyer: 1. When you want to get out of a deal that you have already signed on and 2. When you want to slow a deal down. I believe the later applies here. Upon studying the book and reflecting on biblical principles presented, it seems neater and cleaner to give your stuff away while you are still alive. You can mentor the recipients and tailor the gifts to present needs rather than attempting to forge a game plan into the future with many unknown variables. We can occupy a lot of time disposing of stuff that has no eternal value or trying to run things from the grave.
What about the intangibles that we pass on? --- what about faith -- what about a transformed life of discipleship? Sure we can write a nice Christian Preamble for our wills -- this is a good idea -- it will serve as a witness, hopefully, for many years but is this the same as modeling and mentoring faith?
Now we all know that faith and discipleship are gifts of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:3) but we can teach and model faith for our children and grandchildren now. We can help prepare the soil. Paul, in his letter to Timothy, tells him that this faith life is an inheritance from his mother and grandmother. It might have been helpful if a father and grandfather were also involved.
Confirmation classes start this week. As parents, this is your chance to enable your children to answer life’s most important questions for themselves. Who is Jesus Christ --What has he done? Will I take up my cross and follow him? Will He be Lord of my life or just an interesting teacher? Will I believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God or will it be a stumbling block and foolishness? (1 Cor. 1:18) Will I understand that Jesus is the only way to the Father? (John 14:6) Will I perform good works as a response to the law being written on my heart or will I lapse into a works righteous mentality?
We all spend a lot of time deciding worldly decisions: what college, what profession, where to live, etc. What about eternal decisions? Who am I and whose am I?
The confirmation course is thorough but only as good as the reinforcement from home.
If parents view this as a necessary duty, a rite of passage, then the children will have the same view and likely will not mature as Christians or they will fall prey to secularism, false religion or other influences leading them from Christ, and in fact, to Satan.
I encourage you to:
Get them to class, go over the material at home with them, read the Bible as a family, pray together, worship at church together, attend Sunday School together, serve the Lord together and most importantly, when the formal instructions are over, to continue all of the above.
Confirmation is not a graduation ceremony. It is not a one time only requirement. It is the commitment to continue our life in Christ as one saved by Grace through Faith and as one living in grateful response to that salvation -- as one living under the Gospel and not the law -- as one having the law written on our hearts. (Jer.31:33)
This is the inheritance that Timothy received, This is the inheritance that we were entrusted with. The Love of Christ compels us to model and foster faith in Christ and His free gift of salvation and a life of putting Christ first in our lives. Lets us not quench the spirit (1 Thess. 5:19) but fan into flame these gifts from God.
The peace of the Lord be with you always.