Do you sometimes wonder and/or worry if your children will follow Christ? Do you wonder what more you could be doing to help and encourage them to do so?
“Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.” —Luke 5:4-11
This passage of Scripture has so many things to say to us. The men were busy trying to make their living. They had worked hard all night with nothing to show for it. Jesus came along and told them to “launch out into the deep.” Jesus knew where the fishes were waiting. The men caught so many that their nets broke, and they called for more workers to come and help. This illustrates that Jesus knows men have need to earn a living, and He is able to provide for them. Jesus will take care of our physical needs. He knows where the fishes are!
Second, He tells them to “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” And the men forsook all, and followed Him. In the margin of my Bible I have written, “Jesus wants us to catch men. Catching men is the business of our lives. Forsake all—everyone and everything—to do this. For a mother, this means to catch her children! How am I going to catch my family for Christ?”
These are certainly some words to ponder. The business of my life is not to keep a perfect house, not to do pleasurable things, not to take vacations, not to give the best Bible devotions at the ladies’ Bible study, not to be the best homeschooling mom, not to find a way to earn more money, but the business of my life is to “catch my family for Christ.” “How am I going to do this?” I asked myself. I came up with a list of questions to help me sort this matter out.
Do My Actions Match My Goal?
How do I spend my days? What activities keep me busy? Do any of these activities help me to win my family to Christ? If so, which ones? If not, why not? Should they be eliminated? Can they be eliminated?
Evaluate activities and eliminate everything which does not contribute to this goal. For some, this may mean giving up time spent in fellowship with other women. For others, this may mean setting aside personal reading or crafts and hobbies. For a few, it may mean giving up a part-time job or teaching a class. We have to remember which activities are eternal and which are temporal. We only have our children for a little while. Perhaps later in life we will have time for other things. If the time never comes, our time still would have been well spent.
What Can I Do to Catch My Children?
How much time am I spending teaching them God’s Word on a daily basis? How much time am I spending with them to build better and closer relationships? Am I setting the right example of a godly woman, wife, and mother for them? What might I need to change in my own life for the sake of my children?
What are my children watching? Is it contributing to “catching them for Christ”? What are my children reading? What are my children hearing in the form of radio or cassette tapes?
I am responsible for what my children watch, read, and hear. I need to make sure that all of it contributes to godliness, and is not a stumbling block in any way to them. I can read good books to them. We can discuss these books. We can listen to only the most godly music. We can learn and memorize new hymns together. We can have daily devotions together and prayer time together. These seem to be small ways, but together they mean a great deal, and do add up over the course of a lifetime.
Look Out for Dangerous Relationships!
I daresay that one of the things that you will hear the most often from brokenhearted parents whose children have left the paths of God is that they were not careful enough of the friends of their children. It only takes one friend to lead your child astray! Never be afraid to limit friendships with others who seem not to follow the Lord as closely as you do. Fear not what others might say. We teach our children not to be affected by peer pressure. We need to set the example.
We need to look out for these relationships in our own lives as well. We, parents, do set the example. If we maintain friendships with nonbelievers, our children will one day follow in our footsteps and have friendships with unbelievers as well. We may have been able not to let these relationships have an effect on our spiritual lives, but our children may not be so fortunate.
It is one thing to do for those in need and to show Christian compassion to nonbelievers; it is another thing to get together with them for fun. This would also apply to extended family members who are not believers. Non-believing cousins will have an effect on our children. Our non-believing families are as dedicated to their way and their truth as we are to our Way and our Truth.
This “Catching” Never Stops!
Yes, that is true. There is not a time when you can say, “They are reared. My responsibility is over.” No, no, no. You will want to continue to “Catch your family for Christ.”
Temptations are as rampant for young marrieds as for those in their teen years. You will want to continue to be a godly example. It is still possible to pray together, still share what you are learning in your Christian walk, and be helpful to them in as many ways as possible. And those grandchildren . . . where will they be in eternity?
Grandparents can hold a very special place in the hearts of their grandchildren. The same care and responsibility that we took with our children we will want to take with our grandchildren. We still will want to set a good example; we will want them to know that Grandpa and Grandma love the Lord, live for Him, and are ruled by Him, because we are His.
I have been a grandparent for twenty years. My grandchildren range in age from four to twenty. I have played countless games with them, read stories, crafted, told Bible stories, sang songs, and more. My home has a library just for them, and a toy closet too. And we have built some grandparent traditions that they look forward to each year. We pray together, share concerns, and my grandchildren are some of my dearest friends. I love them, and they know it. I pray for them daily.
Will you endeavor to catch your family for Christ? I hope so!