Summary: What does it mean when we say, “We engage to religiously educate our children.” This is not saying that we will educate our children in religion. It says we will religiously educate.
Last week we learned that the Gospel is all that matters. I hope we all left here with that thought embedded in our hearts so that everything in our lives will revolve around the Gospel. Well today we’re going to go a step further with that thought as we think about the message we send to our children.
If you look at your copy of our church covenant that each new member gets, you will find the statement, “We engage to religiously educate our children.” Let me clarify something. This is not saying that we will educate our children in religion. It says we will religiously educate. You see, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want what the world calls religion. When we do something religiously, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with God.
The cults religiously meet to denounce God and lead people astray. I come to church each week religiously, not to get “religion” but to honor and glorify God. So when we say we will religiously educate our children, it means that we will consistently do our best to lead our children down the right path. Last Sunday’s child dedication ceremony of little Mina was Michael and Melissa saying they will do their best to lead Mina down the right path. So you can see already that this message has a lot more to say than simply educating our children. With that said, I ask, “What Example Do You Set For Your Children’s Faith?”
Children are famous for ignoring what adults say, but they don’t ignore what adults do and they don’t mind being bluntly honest. A Sunday School teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a man was beaten, robbed and left for dead. She described the situation in vivid details so her students would catch the drama. Then she asked the class, “If you saw a person lying on the roadside all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?” A little girl broke the hushed silence when she said, “I think I would throw up.”
READ Mark 10:13-16. This is a simple little story that many know by heart. But let’s look closely at this passage.
because there are four (4) groups of people in this passage that I want you to notice:
1. The parents (probably the Mothers) We don’t know for sure that it was the mothers that brought the children, but studies of the culture of that time lean in that direction.
- They have heard of Jesus’ ministry. Some had possibly seen how Jesus had touched people and healed them and removed their pain. It’s possible that these parents had brought their children to Jesus to heal them even though it doesn’t say so.
- Perhaps they thought that if Jesus would touch them, their children would experience a transference of power and become like Him.
- Maybe they simply saw how good and kind he was and wanted to place a role model before their children.
Keep in mind that the parents would have been aware of Jesus’ lack of popularity with the scribes, Pharisees, Priests and religious rulers but despite that, there was definitely something special in Jesus that they wanted their children to experience.
There is a story of an Indian man born into an Indian family that still followed the culture and ways of the old Indian tribe. He became a Christian. His family had disowned him. Occasionally he would sneak back home and secretly visit his mother. During one of these visits she recounted how while carrying her son, she had been regularly visited by a missionary. The missionary had given her a copy of one of the gospels. She had read the gospel and although she had no desire to become a Christian she did hope that this unborn child would grow up to be like Jesus.
Could there have been something about Jesus that made these mothers in our passage yearn for their children to be in His presence? Was there something they hoped would rub off on them in order that they might be like Him? We don’t know for sure what was going through their minds but, nonetheless, this is the first group that we notice in this passage.
How do you feel about your children’s faith? Do you go out of your way to see that they meet Jesus, that they learn about Him, that they hear His word and His teachings? Do your children see you as a person of faith?
The Second Group of People: The Disciples
• There is an old hymn that goes “The stern disciples drove them back and bade them depart”.
• All I can envision when I read this is a bunch of grumpy old men who thought that children should be seen and not heard. What is sad is there are people just like this in churches today. Maybe some of you are here right now.