Many years ago, a couple of my cousins from Wisconsin would come to Illinois to visit. They were about 10 years younger than I and we would have a good time visiting together. When it was bedtime, I would read to them from an English storybook that my Father brought home when he returned after World War II. The book had adorable pudgy-cheeked children and precious elves and even snow fairies!
I married about 10 years later and these two delightful girls were my flower-girls at the wedding. We really did not have much contact through the ensuing decades, other than some Christmas cards, attending the funeral of a beloved Aunt died, and receiving a wedding announcement.
On our trip last summer, we were going through Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin to visit friends and I contacted one of these ladies to see if we could get together for dinner as we journeyed through the state. Plans were made and we did so.
She contacted her sister and the next day both of them came to the campground for a visit and then dinner. We had a delightful time.
To my astonishment, they asked if I remembered the stories that I read to them years earlier from that old English storybook. When I said that I did, they asked that I tell them two of those stories before they left the campground that evening. I was honored to do so, and we revisited the Pixie who stole a taste of pink ice cream and the Snow Fairy who disobeyed and became stuck on earth. Two adult women remembering life lessons that had been encapsulated in stories told decades earlier in their childhood, and me cherishing the time with them and recalling when the stories calmed them so that they could sleep in a strange house.
This past week we were working with come elementary school children and singing the song “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the Book for me, I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.”
In doing so, the children had fun singing at the top of their lungs, while the adults revisited the time in their childhood when they, too, learned the song. But far more than having fun, the song is imprinting the message on the children’s minds that the Bible is the Word of God and it is something that lasts, you can stand on its teaching because it is from Almighty God. They may not understand all that, but it is in their heads and hearts and someday, when they are older, they will remember its teaching, just like my cousins remembered those comforting stories.
The importance of teaching children the Word of God is a direct command of our God. For example, in speaking of the law and commandments of God as given to Moses, we read:
“You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
The Psalmist says the following:
“Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.“
No matter our age or station in life, we all can say with King David:
“Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.”
Snow fairies and Pixies are not real and the stories are not imbued with the imprint of the Holy Spirit of our God. However, Scripture is, and we have an obligation to our children and grandchildren to teach them what God says in His Word to guide them as they go along life’s pathways.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,“
This great cloud of witnesses refers to those who have gone before us, who paved the way so that we could know of God and of His Word. So, will your children remember when you read the Bible to them? Will your grandchildren remember that you told them the stories in the Bible? Will your family be able to point to you as a person who assisted them in understanding God’s Word? Are you paving their way through the Scriptures?
Father, teach us to do Your will and to tell the next generation about Your marvelous works in our own lives as well as in the lives of those who have gone before. May I spread Your Word as I live my life in witness to Your love, grace and salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.