God has no grandchildren. He only has children.
As much as we would love it, there is no automatic transfer of God’s truth to others. Everyone must make his or her own spiritual journey. (That includes pastor’s kids.)
Moses knew that. The mighty leader of one of history’s most amazing journeys spent his last words telling the Israelites how to pass on God’s truth to their children. Deuteronomy 6:2 tells us that Moses was talking to people who had sons and grandsons, so he was talking to parents. Do you have a son, a daughter, or a grandchild? If so, in effect, Moses was writing to you about hearing the truth and passing it along.
To get the full impact of his words, you must understand where the Israelites were. After wandering for 40 years, they finally stood on the banks of the Jordan River . . . at the very edge of the Promised Land. That new territory before them would be the place where their children and grandchildren would grow up.
At the beginning of this new life for God’s people, Moses gave a number of directives. I want to highlight one in particular for us as pastors:
You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up. (Deuteronomy 6:7)
Forget for the next few moments that you’ve preached on this verse. Let the verse preach to you. This command is not about parents learning theology and stopping there; it is about parents transferring their theology to their children. What you have heard and what you have grown to love, now teach to your children.
I like how the NIV renders it: “Talk about [God’s commands].” Look at how natural Moses made it! Talk, don’t deliver a sermon. Don’t try to force a whole lecture into your dinnertime prayer! Don’t force feed big chunks of the truth down their throats. Instead, live the truth on a day-to-day basis . . . and let it flow naturally.
If we’re not careful, ministry gets busy and complicated, causing teachable moments to sail past without a word. Don’t let that happen! Moses’s warning in Deuteronomy 6 is as fresh today as it was the day he wrote it. Remember, our first ministry (even as pastors) is to our family members. Our primary disciples are our kids.
Want your children to live godly, courageous lives? It won’t occur automatically! Assure your children that your relationship with God is your first priority, that you love Him with all your heart, all your soul, and all your might and that you want to pass these truths to them . . . then live differently.
You’ll need to tell them that God has no grandchildren. Make it clear that this is one decision they must make for themselves. Help them make it early by living it personally.