In Deuteronomy 31:9-13, Moses, after writing an entire body of instructions from God in a book for the priests to place in the Ark of the Covenant, gives directions that the instructions be read every seven years to the people of Israel. In this passage of Scripture, Moses is commanding the children of Israel of all generations—both young and old—to be taught the law that God had laid out before them. In verse 13, he urges the older generation to, “Do this so that your children who have not known these instructions will hear them and will learn to fear the Lord your God.” (NLT)
By Judy Griffis
Earlier in Deuteronomy 11:19, the people were instructed to, “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
It is important to God that we teach our children and grandchildren His laws and percepts. It is viral that we pass these along to the next generation and allow them to be a part of the learning process.
The story of a girl named Rhoda in Acts 12:1-16 is a compelling argument to involve our children in Christian teachings and worship. She was attending the prayer meeting held in behalf of Peter, who was imprisoned unjustly. “But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.” As the believers sought God for his release at the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, there was a knock at the door. It was Rhoda who went to the door to open it. Being so excited, that the answer to all of their prayers stood at the threshold, she forgot to let him in. After announcing to the gathering Peter was at the door, they shamed her and telling her “You’re out of your mind?” Upon her insistence that he indeed was there, they went to see for themselves and were amazed.
Any one could’ve answered the door, but God chose a young impressionable girl and allowed her to see “the answered prayer” first.
Take for example the story of the young lad who shared his lunch of five small barley loaves and two small fish in John 6:5-14. At some point in the story though not recorded, the boy must’ve informed Andrew two things: that he had food in his possession; and that he was willing to share what he had. Andrew, though doubtful, then informed Jesus of the available food. The rest is history, and one of the greatest miracles is performed and preserved in the Scripture.
Two generations: the unnamed boy and the disciple Andrew working together bringing something to Jesus for Him to bless multitudes. Feeding the poor, providing sustenance to those in need, and sharing the Gospel. Isn’t that what World Missions does?
Why not involve the younger generation is this great calling? As Christians, we strive to teach our children the Word of God, good morals, what’s right and wrong according to the Bible, the foundation of our faith. Do we dare leave out missions? In addition to helping carry out the Great Commission, we desire that our children learn to to care for others around the world that are in need of basic human needs. The little boy who gave his lunch to Andrew could’ve eaten it all himself. However, he chose to share what he had with others who were hungry. We must endeavor to teach our children to think beyond themselves to empathize and grow a heart of service and caring to others.
Our denominational programs, such as This Little Light of Mine and YWEA, attempt to involve and instruct our kids and young people that they can be a blessing to others around the world.
There is no age limit to what God can do with a mission-hearted person. The younger a person is, who is made aware of what effect missions can do toward fulfilling God’s command to “go into all the world…,” the more years he or she has to do what they can to be His instrument.
Older people, who no longer have the physical stamina, but possess financial means, can still be a part of missions. Others, who have no resources available, can pray. Pray like the believers in Acts. God is not deaf to their prayers.
All generations can be involved in World Missions. Only God knows the eternal results of how one generation can teach through example, words and deeds another generation, and so on.
Deuteronomy 31:12-13: “Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess.” (NKJV)
Generations working together for His kingdom until we possess heaven together!
More information about This Little Light of Mine can be found at tllom.org.
Judy Griffis is wife of Church of God Director of World Missions David Griffis.
(Source: Church of God World Missions)