When you reach my age you begin to think about what you are going to “leave” to your children. Some money, some property, some heirlooms, but you really need to start thinking about what you are going to leave your children when you and your children are still quite young.
Somehow we think that by leaving them money or other physical gifts we will make them feel better about our dying. Is that what they really need? Is that what will carry them through when the end comes for their parents? Rather than money, or property, or cars what they really need is HOPE.
Do you remember the story of the Prodigal Son? He received his half of the inheritance and in very short order wasted all of it on “good times”. He had nothing and in order to get something to eat he took a job feeding hogs. The young man thought he had everything, but in reality he had nothing.
I remember on internship a woman who was a very devout Christian. She never missed church and loved God with all her heart. Her son on the other hand, had no time for church. He was an atheist. Why waste your time worshipping a fairytale? When she died, he wanted no church funeral. He wanted nothing to do with God. My supervising pastor and I went to her burial. About twenty people showed up. Nothing was said. We just stood there and then watched her casket being lowered into the ground. Suddenly the son began to sob. He tried to speak but nothing came out. And then finally he blurted out, “Somebody, please say something.” The pastor stepped forward, prayed, read 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52, talked about the sure and certain hope of the resurrection and then held the young son in his arms. Two weeks later the son showed up at church and never missed a Sunday after that.
The most important thing that you, as a parent, can leave your children is FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST. Faith, grounded in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection. Faith, that when the time is right those children will see their parents once again in the Kingdom of God.
As a parent, you can do your part by: A) Sharing your faith with your children; B) Worshipping with your children every Sunday: C) Bringing your children in Sunday School; D) Bringing your children to Frogs, Jr. Lutherans, 76ers, and high school youth events. Just like you make sure your children eat, get sleep, get a good education, get medical care; you need to make sure they learn about the love of God which comes to them through Jesus Christ. You want to leave something to your children? LEAVE THEM THE FAITH!