Whose Job is It?
This blog post is the sermon text from Pastor Cowell's sermon at our Rally Day service this year.
So whose job is it? Whose job is it to teach our children the Christian faith? Parents, it's very easy for you to assume that this is the job of the Sunday School teachers. You send your kids to school to learn how to be good citizens; therefore you send your kids to Sunday school to learn how to be good Christians. Simple enough.Sunday school teachers, you heard the readings from Deuteronomy and Ephesians today. “Fathers [...], bring your children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” There’s probably many times in class when you wish parents would read and reread these verses a few times over.
And the rest of the congregation, you who are neither Sunday school teachers nor parents Sunday school children, you’re just happy it's clearly not your job! We're all happy to cheer the kids, parents, and teachers on at Rally Day, and then leave them alone to do their work. After all, many of you have already been down that road. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard somebody say “I've served my time” talking about Sunday school or Midweek or VBS (as if it’s like a prison term), well, I’d have a lot of nickels.
And then we hear the Great Commission from Matthew 28 where Jesus tells the church's first eleven pastors to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching all that He commanded, and us two pastors start to look for a way out as well.
And you know, if our children would just open up their Bibles and read on their own, and walk themselves to church, and obey the Ten Commandments then we wouldn't even have to worry about this question.
So, whose job is it? If we try to answer this question according to our own judgement these are the kinds of answers we’ll always come up with. Raising our children in the fear and trust and love of the Lord will always be someone else's job. We will always have an excuse for our own personal failings and feelings of inadequacy toward fulfilling this command of God.
And while we satisfy our own consciences by passing the job on to someone else, our children suffer the consequences. Without faithful and intentional and regular instruction in the word of God our children will be left poorly defended against the devil's temptations, and the lies of the world, and the corruption of their own sinful flesh. They'll be like a house built on the sand and a seed in rocky soil.
A church who thinks and acts in this way, and who treats their children with such disregard, is not a church born of Christ. The Christian Church is not a group of individuals looking out for themselves. The Christian Church is the family of God. We are all brothers and sisters to each other, and we are all parents and children to each other in the family of God. While earthly fathers and mothers do have certain God-given responsibilities toward their children, many of which are given quite specifically in Scripture, it is our joy as Christians no matter what spot in the church we occupy to aid in teaching our children the Word of God, because they are all our children in Christ.
Therefore, if you are the father or mother of a Christian child, make plans this Rally Day on how you can fill your house with the Word of God. And don't let the job scare you. It's as simple as a Bible story every evening, a prayer before supper, memorizing a hymn to sing in the car, and praying the Lord's Prayer before you go to sleep. These are things every parent can do (even if you can’t sing, you can sing a hymn out of tune to your kids... they won’t be embarrassed until they’re older).
If you’re a Sunday school or midweek teacher, consider yourselves this Rally Day to be spiritual fathers and mothers to these children who you teach. Then you will treat your job as seriously as if you were teaching the children of your own house.
If you are any other member of the congregation, consider this Rally Day to be a Rally Day for you too. Put these children into your weekly prayer schedule. Encourage them wherever you can. Be an example for them of a faithful Christian by the way you worship and pray, and the way you talk and the way you act. Support the work of parents and teachers and pastors with your tithes and offerings. Help ensure there are no obstacles to the Christian education of our children.
This is the type of church family that God created us to be, and this is the family we are continually being formed into by the forgiveness of sins and the power of the Holy Spirit.
So whose job is it? It's our job, and it's a job we rejoice to accomplish in Christ's name and through His grace and mercy.