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Wilhelm Busch was a pastor in Germany during the Second World War. A man from his congregation visited him and wept for his son. Wilhelm had met the son when he came to their youth group as a 14-year-old filled with joy. The son loved to listen to the Word of the Lord. It was, however, during the time of Hitler and many thought that Bible study groups made the boys “soft”. The father was influenced by that view and persuaded his son to drop the Bible study group. His son had to ‘get ahead’ in life; that was the most important thing. The son hence dropped the youth group and befriended others who made him so rebellious that he didn’t even want to visit the church with his parents any longer. A total rift ensued between the parents and their son whom they loved so much and of whom they were so proud. The son then led a life of evil. For the father the worst was that he himself was instrumental in what happened. Wilhelm writes that it was terrible to watch the father weeping like that.

Jesus invites us to bring our children to Him: Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples scolded the people. When Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” …Then he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on each of them, and blessed them (Mark 10:13,14,16).

In the Old Testament we already read how seriously  God desires that we teach our children about Him: Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working (Deut. 6:4).

            Jesus gives a clear instruction to each one of us not to prevent children from turning to Him. “If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea” (Matt. 18:6)

Above we saw what the consequences were for the father and the son about whom Wilhelm spoke. The father’s motive was that his son had to “get ahead”; that was the most important thing for him. Our ideals for our children are often focused on material things, that one day they should be rich, fill top positions, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it isn’t at the cost of, or doesn’t take the place of, what is most important in life. The cruellest thing we can do to our children is not to expose them to the Word of God, not to talk to them about eternal life, not to explain to them the salvation which Jesus accomplished on the cross and not to make sure that they have certainty about their salvation. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:26).

The greatest possible heartache for parents would be to hear the following from their child one day when it is forever too late: “My parents knew that eternal life also awaits me after my death, and still they talked to me about everything except about how I could be saved.”

Lord Jesus, make it our heart’s desire to lead our children to You. Amen. Free  


Gert Berning