Earlier this month, my wife and I did some camping in northern Ontario. On the first evening, we were late arriving because we were detoured away from an accident on Highway 400. (Unlike Highway 11, some of the interchanges on the 400 extension are just for dead-end cottage roads, so we ended up adding about 3 hours to our trip.)
I was setting up the camper van, plugging into the electricity and water, and the chap at the adjoining campsite was inspecting the front of his trailer. Just trying to be a friendly camper, I made a compliment about his trailer, and he started telling me quite a bit of his life story.
I’ll spare you the details, but one part of his story struck me. He was telling me about the business he is going to start when he moves, and said, “I was raised an evangelical Christian…” and proceeded to disparage his upbringing.
My heart ached as I completed that conversation so I could cook supper, not only for him, but because I know there are others who have a similar story to tell.
In some ways, in recent years, it has become trendy to walk away from one’s spiritual roots, but it is especially poignant when those spiritual roots are in the historic, apostolic, biblically-based expressions of Christianity.
The reality is that no church is perfect, and most churches have made assumptions about how well-equipped parents are to raise their children to know and love and serve Jesus. They’ve let down their families. But every church that roots itself in the basics of Christian faith seeks to do its best to see its children grow in Christ. And when that doesn’t happen, the church mourns. It should mourn. And God’s heart breaks.
My fellow camper ideally would have held on to his faith roots, but he didn’t. I don’t know the reasons. But whatever your role in your local church, do all you can to disciple the children in your midst, starting with your own. Equip them, and their parents, to embrace and nurture faith in Jesus in a world that is doing its best to do the opposite. And leave the rest to God.
“[Y]ou must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up” (Deuteronomy 6.6-7, NLT).