The mission of parenting is overwhelming. As a father of seven, sometimes I feel like my wife and I have all we can do to simply “get through” each day. It is so easy to lose sight of why God created our families! God has given you children so that you might do all in your power to impress their hearts with a love for God and equip them to impact this world for Christ. But it doesn’t end there! How often do you think about your grandchildren who are yet to be born? How about your great-grandchildren? Everything that is happening in your home right now is building a generational legacy that will ripple through your family for generations to come.
God calls parents to have “multi-generational” vision. God casts this vision for us in Psalm 78:5-7
He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.
Within this Psalm we see the impact of multigenerational faithfulness. God calls me to do all in my power to impress the hearts of my children with a love for Him and to teach them God’s Word. My mission to “make disciples” begins with the souls of the children God has entrusted to me. Central to my disciple-making mission with my children is to equip them and prepare them to lead my grandchildren (who have yet to be born) to Jesus, and that they in turn would tell my great-grandchildren. God desires that generation after generation of Rienows will “set their hope in God,” will “not forget the words of God,” and will “keep his commandments.”
We have a flawed tendency to think that the way we practice Christianity today is the way it has always been practiced. Many Christian families today act as though the church (Sunday school, youth group, etc.) is primarily responsible for helping their children grow in faith. We fail to realize that Sunday school and youth groups did not exist until the late 1800s. For the first nineteen centuries of Christianity it was understood that parents were called by God to disciple their children, and that the home was the primary place for this to happen. During the twentieth century, Christians increasingly began to reflect the secular culture and adopted the model of delegation parenting. Do you want your kids to learn to play the piano? Get them a tutor. Do you want them to learn basketball? Find them a coach. Do you want them to learn about Jesus? Find a good youth pastor. All we have to do is drive the minivan and drop our kids off with the various professionals who will teach them what they need to know. While there is nothing wrong with using outside resources to help us raise our children, when we choose to delegate the responsibility of spiritual training the results can be disastrous.
Do you want your children, grandchildren, and beyond to show their neighbors the love of Christ? It starts in your home right now. Do you want your children, grandchildren, and beyond to have a heart for the lost and hurting around the world? It starts in your home right now.
Perhaps you come from a long line of believers. Your call is to take the torch of faith that has been passed to you from your parents and grandparents, and pass it on to your children and grandchildren. I wish I had been blessed with a long legacy of Christian parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Instead, I am the first generation of Christian fathers in my family tree. Maybe, like me, you are one of the first Christians in your family. What an opportunity God has given us to launch and build a family that will increasingly impact this world for Christ and His Kingdom for generations to come!