Sunday, January 15, 2012

Children are not toys

For Christmas I received God Grant It, a year of daily devotions taken from C.F.W. Walther's sermons.  Here is an excerpt from a recent devotion concerning parents’ responsibilities:

What a rich lesson this is for us parents, to whom God has entrusted children as pledges of His love.  Mary and Joseph must have carefully raised the holy child in whom the Lord had clothed His glory.  They could not imagine that this child would develop by Himself, without their help, and that, without them, God would protect Him.  How much more should we recognize our calling to be God’s instruments for the raising of our helpless little ones!  

If the parents of the most holy God-man recognized it as their duty to lead Him into the house of the Lord, how much more should we recognize our duty to lead our children, who are sinners in need of grace, to the Lord early on!  To be sure, we do not have the power to convert our children, to cleanse their sinful hearts, and to keep them in God’s grace.  Nevertheless, we can be guilty of neglect and the loss of their souls.  Therefore, we should be God’s handymen in effecting their rescue.  Our children are not given to us as toys and pleasantries or as our servants.  Instead, they are entrusted to us by God, so that when they know nothing about Him we would lead them to their heavenly Father.   God will thus demand from us one day the souls and the blood of our children, saying, “Where are they, My children, which I have given to you?”
It is our first duty as Christian parents that, immediately after the birth of our children, we bring them to the Holy Baptism of Jesus. For He says, “Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14). However, this in no way completes the payment of our parental debt to them. No, if our children have been baptized, they then carry Jesus Himself in their hearts, and then, like Mary and Joseph, we each have a little Child Jesus in our house and in our arms. At this point, our heartfelt care for the protection of that child is doubled. The salvation of that precious child is then the object of our daily cares and prayers.

Not only is this a "rich lesson" for parents but it's also a rich lesson for Lutheran educators.  As a high school English teacher, I'm responsible for teaching the truths of gerunds and Shakespeare but I'm also responsible for teaching God's Word in all its truth and purity.  The oath I took at my installation, where I promised to uphold the truths of Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions and "reject all the errors they condemn," reminds me of the serious responsibilities connected to this hallowed vocation.
God grant it.

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