A grapevine is a curious thing. Left to its own devices, it will sprawl out over the land, and become susceptible to disease and insects. But, if it's pruned and trained to grow up on a trellis, it will be a productive grapevine with years of delicious fruit to produce. It will be strong and resistant to disease and insects.
So will a child.
The Bible states very clearly: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it," [Proverbs 22:6]. If we look at this from the perspective of the grapevine, it brings it home to us.
I have a five year old daughter. She is headstrong, independent, sweet, caring, and observant. Like the grapevine, if I let her to run free in and out of the house, into our unfenced yard, and into the street, I would not be doing her any favors. In fact, she could get hit by a car. No parent would just allow their five year old child to play in the street or with knives or with a hot stove top with water boiling on it.
If all that is true -- why would a parent just leave it up to a child to figure out the complicated matters of faith by themselves? If we as Christians don't share God with children and adults alike -- the world and satan will share with them a warped version of who He is -- and isn't.
"Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 19:13-14]. We are told by Christ to bring children to Him, to teach them about God. If we don't, who will?
I have heard so many times non-believers say that they intend on allowing their children "figure out faith for themselves" but by not exposing the children to any faith they endanger them to all sorts of immoral, degenerate and worthless roads in life. A life in Christ is not just about living with Him in heaven; it is about doing life with passion and meaning. It's about something bigger than ourselves. It's about living for the glory of God instead of a paycheck or 15 minutes of fame. It's about hope -- knowing that whatever befalls us in this life, we have the hope of glory instead of living eternally in the misery and pain of hell and being apart from God.
Grapevines are pruned so that the strongest branches yield the most fruit. Would not all parents want that imagery for their child? To be focused and trained to be the most productive, to have meaning to their lives? The type of life-meaning that lasts can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. No one else. Shouldn't we make that relationship open and available to our children?
I have a large butterfly bush in my backyard. One day I walked outside and noticed a huge yellow and black butterfly hovering over a stalk loaded with purple blooms. Then, I saw another one. And a third. Knowing my daughter would love to see the butterflies, I ran back inside and took her hand and led her outside. The delight and joy on her face as she watched these dancing, fluttering butterflies drink nectar filled my heart.
I, as a child of God, as an evangelical Christian, should be just as interested in sharing Jesus with my child as I am to share butterflies with her. To share with her the eternal relationship with Jesus Christ that can sustain her through any tragedy or triumph in life.
In Him, and for His Children,
(c) 2015 Terrie McKee
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