Parental Abdication

by Jefferson David Tant

There are many things that tend to discourage and dishearten those who are striving to teach others, but few things can do the job more effectively than when members allow their children to put school activities and/or selfish desires first in their lives.

We wonder if it is possible that some parents care so little about their children”s eternal welfare that they allow them to act as the prophet Eli”s children. His sons brought a curse upon themselves because Eli “restrained them not” (I Samuel 3:13). I am sure Eli”s boys did not start out as evildoers but probably wanted to “to go along with the gang” and tried to get away with as much as they could. Rather than taking the time and inconvenience to channel their energies in the right direction, Eli simply let them have their own way,

When parents abdicate their responsibility of making the right decisions for their children and do not teach them to make the right decisions for themselves, they cannot justly com-plain when their children begin to show more interest in the material over the spiritual.

Christ gave up the glories of heaven and lived a life of poverty and rejection. He experienced cruel pain in literally pouring out his life”s blood as the supreme sacrifice for us. And what do we in return? Do we teach our children to make any sacrifices for the Lord? We give little enough time to the Master as it is, and when the hour to assemble comes, of whom do we first think? Are personal pleasures and desires sacrificed that Christ might come first? Oh, no! The only sacrifice on the part of some takes place when they “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:6). With these, self is the first and prime consideration. If they want to bowl, go to a party, go on a date, study school lessons, play in sports, practice for the school play — that comes first! Christ is pushed aside to make room for satisfying the desires of the flesh.

Is this acting as the “light of the world,” or the “salt of the earth?” Does this cause the world to glorify God because of our good works and sacrifices? It more nearly corresponds to the blind leading the blind—with both falling into the ditch (Matthew 15:14). I am sure young people can make a great impression concerning the importance of the kingdom when their friends and companions see them forsaking the worship of God in order to indulge the flesh.

Brethren, there is more to “soundness” than believing the truth on issues that trouble the church. Souls can be lost and churches can lose their candlestick (Rev. 2:5) over more things than present-day issues. We should teach our children that it should be considered a joy to sacrifice for Christ, rather than teaching them to whine and plead for their parents to “give in” and let them call their own tunes. Too often Satan ends up calling the tune.

We thank God for those who yet count it a joy to sacrifice for the one who sacrificed all for us. Let us be mindful of these matters as our children go to school.

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