Dealing with kids is what I do, so not a day goes by that I do not interact with little tykes. Most of the time they drive me nuts, and much of that time, I am wishing I could retire from the job I often refer to as “eternal nursery duty.” I mean, when a kid comes up to you while you are trying to drink your Red Bull® energy drink and smacks you in the face, loving like Jesus is the last thing from your mind (so I’ve heard)! The last two times this happened, I decided to get even—you know, that old “eye for an eye” Bible verse that we always take out of context and use for our own advantage? Well, I gave it right back to little Edmund. I made it look like I “accidentally” spilled his coffee all over the front of his bib. He probably won’t do that again this week!
While I spend most of my time cleaning up messes, changing diapers, and mixing bottles, I also use this time to think. Sometimes I think about that new car I wish I had, that yacht like my pastor’s that is really roomy in the cabin, or that 70” TV that I have been dreaming about since we switched over to color television about ___________ years ago. However, on some occasions, I actually think about others (I know, right? *gasp*); and get this: I even think nice thoughts toward them, not angry or sarcastic thoughts!
Recently, I was thinking about the verse in Proverbs that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). When I put it all in perspective, that’s exactly the opportunity that I have at my fingertips! I mean, I work with kids, I work in a church, and I study the Bible so it is a no-brainer.
Whenever I leave the nursery (which is almost never—they should have labor laws against making employees who don’t get paid work so much) I cannot help but look around and see the decay in society. Many people point at the younger generations in disgust, declaring that they will never amount to anything, and this just adds fuel to the fire of apathy. Rather, we need to reach out to them, offer them a hand, and help them learn truth from God’s Word. Like my pastor says on many occasions: “If we don’t teach them, who will?” And he is right! (Please don’t tell him I actually listen to his advice).
We can do one of two things when we contemplate the younger generations. We can sit idly by as the world goes to hell—that is obviously the wrong approach. Or, we can show them we care enough about them to share Jesus with them and obey the Lord’s command to disciple people. What we cannot afford to do is dodge our God-given responsibility as we watch a generation roam in the darkness of society with all its evil.
Yes, God is sovereign, but he also uses people to minister to other people. He is in control of this world, but that does not mean we just opt out of investing in the lives of others. My heart goes out to the teenagers who are being bombarded with filth that I never imagined as a youngster. The stuff they see on a daily basis makes the things we dealt with many years ago seem mild. We cannot afford to neglect the youth of this world! They need truth and they need it in a way that resonates with them. The truth of God’s Word never changes, yet the methods we use will vary, based on the situation.
Maybe you are a little league coach so without preaching a sermon, you can show those kids who Jesus is by your behavior. Perhaps you are a discouraged youth leader with only two or three teens in your youth group. Be encouraged, you are helping to instill godly principles that will be forever etched on their hearts. Remember Proverbs 22:6? We have a responsibility to train them right, and then if they choose to walk the wrong path, we can rest assured, knowing we did all we could.
Let me leave you with this today before I go back to the screaming toddlers: if you do nothing, not only will God be displeased, but you never know what young person you could have helped. Invest in someone today so that we can see many generations of believers infiltrate this world with the light of Jesus! If we don’t teach them, who will?
The answer is sobering.