by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Readings: Joel 1:1-3:21; Proverbs 29:18
READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Joel 1:3 “Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation.”
Through the prophet Joel, God wanted the people of Israel to tell their children and their children’s children of their sinfulness, of how they betrayed the Lord of His love and a call for repentance. Why did the Lord want His people to do that? This is so that not only this generation will learn and turn from their wicked ways, but they will also understand that what they do as parents will have an effect on their children. This will also serve as a reminder to the generations to come of their need to submit to the Lord our God.
In certain parts of the world, Christianity has been seen and practiced as an “individualistic” religion. This is “my” faith”; this is “my life in Jesus”. Even the songs we sometimes choose to sing on a Sunday service tells of the kind of influence we embraced from certain parts of this world.
Yet, the Word of God has been given to us in the context of community and not individualism. Hence in the Bible, there are many references to how sin affects community life; of how we need to pass on the faith to our children; and how restoration is a corporate act of worship. In the same manner, the Bible keeps exhorting that parents have the primary responsibility of passing on the faith to the next generation so that they can do the same and even better in the context of faith being communal.
As parents in the Lord, I believe we should take a serious look at how the people of old teach and model to their children about the faith. We need to do so much better in terms of how we can pass on the faith to our children. We should reflect on our tendencies to “outsource” the modelling and teaching of faith to people whom we think are “specialists”. While others can help to assist, equip and guide us, fundamentally we parents are exhorted time and again in God’s Word to pass on the faith to our children. Let us not pass the buck to someone else. Otherwise our children will suffer from a misalignment with what the Lord wants to do through us and for them.
Lord our God, help us to be parents whom you have called us to be. Help us not to push the blame to others but examine our souls on whether it is aligned with what You have said in Your holy Word. Amen.