[This post was written Thanksgiving morning, but was not posted till now due to internet connection problems]
This morning, I will have the pleasure to once again spend time in Plymouth on the day we follow the example of the Pilgrims and give thanks to the Lord for all His blessings. There’s just a sense of historical enrichment as you walk around the harbor, see “the Rock” and pass by statue after statue. Of course, you also have to navigate your way around the scores of tourists taking pictures and citing historical trivia. And, yes, I would count myself among the tourists though I’ve lived here most of my life.
Yet, every time I visit Plymouth, I can’t help but think – do all these tourists really understand what happened here? How many people come here to remember a group of dedicated Christians whose passion and drive was to worship the Lord according to the Scriptures and provide an atmosphere in which their faith may be passed down to their children and future generations? How often do I take the time to reflect upon this?
A key part of thanksgiving is reflection. On days such as this, we take time to reflect on all of the blessings bestowed upon us by our sovereign, gracious Lord. This naturally leads to a feeling of thanksgiving and true appreciation for the wonders of God’s condescending love which should lead to a wonderful time of worship and praise. This, of course, is what thanksgiving is all about.
Yet, we must also take the lead of those brave souls in Plymouth and make it a point to pass down this faith to our children. We forget sometimes that while the Pilgrims left England because of religious persecution, they left Leyden for the New World out of concern for their children. These pilgrims had freedom of religion there in the Netherlands, but there was another serious problem they faced. They saw their children adapting more and more to the Dutch culture around them and forsaking the “faith of their fathers.” Freedom of religion was not enough, they had to make sure their faith would not die out as the next generation simply dissolved away into a wicked culture.
While I thoroughly love my job as a teacher, it is always discouraging to see some children of Christian parents who have little or no appreciation for the faith we all find so precious. Parents, you cannot assume that your children will follow in your footsteps. Nor can you simply assume that though they are not now, someday they will (ala blind allegiance to Proverbs 22:6). Passing your faith along to your children involves at least two key elements.
(1) You must first evaluate your own faith. Is your faith worth passing on? Do your children see that your faith is not only a necessary part of your life, but have shown them just how valuable and precious it is? Do they see this as a crucial aspect of who you are or just something that must be done like other items checked off the to-do list?
(2) You must actively teach and model the faith to your children. Take time throughout the day to teach your children Biblical principles. Look for opportunities throughout your daily schedule and make opportunities and build them into your schedules. Do not leave this job to the church, the youth group or the Christian school. It takes a united effort. What message does it send if what is taught in church and Christian school is not modeled and reinforced at home? Our faith is passed on by purpose, not by coincidence.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Give thanks today. Lift up your praise to worthy Lamb of God – and let your children see it, experience it and teach them the importance of it.
Just my thought for Thanksgiving today….