A very popular song of years gone by recognized that “children are our future.” In viewing the future, the past must be considered. The record reveals sin to be man’s problem (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:6-7), but it doesn’t have to be that way (James 4:7; I Thess. 5:22). The devil knows all of this and starts with our young.
Obedience to God should start in youth (Ecc. 12:1). The world understands this as the public education system is directed to the youth, and a continued push is for even younger participation. It’s recognized in sports and other activities all directed to the young. Jesus the perfect example gave divine recognition to growth and development in youth with help of His good earthly parents (Luke 2:52).
Every accountable person is responsible to God. Consider Samuel of old (I Sam. 1-4). His mother dedicated him to the Lord, and at a very young age God called for him. Timothy, commended in Acts 16:2 by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium, is an example of one remembering God in his youth (II Tim. 1:5). He progressed so well in on- the-job training, that in youth he could be left in Berea (Acts 17:13-14) while Paul escaped to Athens. At the proper time youth do become accountable to God.
Is there something you can do about the future of the church of God? Yes, parents are charged to train up their children (Proverbs 22:6) with dad responsible (Eph. 6:4). Who is in charge, parents, at your house? You or your children?
Youth have responsibility, too. Remember the disrespect shown Elisha (II Kings 2:22-24). God pronounced a death penalty on those rebellious youths. Children learn respect for God and for family at home (Prov. 19:18). Study habits can and should be set in the home (II Tim. 2:15). Serving others (James 1:27), worship (John 4:24), leading others to Christ (John 1:40-41), choosing good friends (I Cor. 15:33) all should be seen and taught primarily in the home. If the home works as designed by God, then this will be done, and it greatly affects the future of the Lord’s people.
It has often been observed that youth are the future of the Church. If our youth have obeyed the gospel of Christ, then they’re the church of today as well as the church of tomorrow. The way to overcome moral decay and troubles of our day is to teach and prepare children now. Neither government money nor any state social program can replace the good that God can do through the lives of dedicated, prepared children. Invest wisely in the future, let’s train our children now. Make them aware of the pitfalls of sin and evil in the world, and let them see Christ living in us.
David Hill, President of Tennessee Bible College