One of my favorite services as a pastor was the dedication of children. As Baptists, we do not believe in infant baptism, but we do believe in parents committing their children to the Lord. In those dedication services, the parents pledge to give their children back to the Lord and to rear them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The church commits to walk beside the parents in prayer and to provide Christian training in the Word. The church and parents both commit to teach the Word so the children will have opportunity to embrace the Gospel and grow in Christ.
Like every commitment we make, the public dedication must be followed by day-by-day investment in the child. We also are called upon to teach our children to live all of life to the glory of God. One of the most important areas of Christian maturity for our children is learning to hear the voice of God as He directs their lives.
I use this thought as a bridge to the main point of my article. Jesus called on us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers because the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few. I suspect you have prayed that prayer many times. But have you prayed that prayer over your children and grandchildren? When you dedicated your child, like Hannah of old did, did you dedicate your child to the Lord? In doing so, did you embrace with joy the prospect that God would use your child in the harvest fields of this world to see the lost brought to Christ and bring glory to the Savior?
We marvel at the commitment of one false religion where parents dedicate their children to spend two years on mission seeking to reach people with their false gospel. We also marvel that the parents pay the cost of that mission. As Southern Baptist parents, what do we do? One thing we must do is pray for our children.
I want to challenge you to pray with fresh dedication for the Lord to call your children and grandchildren to the task of harvesting the vast fields of lostness around the world. Offer your children to the Lord with a whole heart and open hands. Offer them to the Lord as an answer to the prayer He taught us to pray for laborers in the harvest.
Recently, I was with our Native Americans at Indian Falls Creek. One of the great needs of our Indian churches is for pastors. Twenty-seven percent of BGCO Indian churches do not have pastors. At Indian Falls Creek, the challenge was given to pray and ask God to send laborers. The call was given for Native American people to be an answer to that prayer, and 46 people responded. All over the world, Native Americans are welcomed in ways Anglos are not, providing areas of missions and ministry that must have Native American leaders. I personally challenged our Native peoples to pray for their own children and grandchildren to answer the call. I believe they will! The rest of us must follow.
We look at our own nation and weep because of the shrouds of darkness that grow thicker each day. The only answer to the darkness is the light of the Gospel. We need preachers and missionaries who will carry the Gospel into the large cities and countrysides of America. Are you willing to pray that your child or grandchild will be the one to do so?
You say, “But if I pray this prayer, God will answer!” Yes, He does and it will be a glorious day. Can you think of any job or task that could be of greater significance than preaching, teaching, witnessing, and discipling people with the Gospel?
Polla and I committed our children to the Lord when they were babies. We prayed the Lord would use them in His mission and to His glory. We opened our hands to surrender their futures to God. I am thankful we did. Is it easy? No, our daughter is in youth ministry that consumes much of her life and time. Our son and his wife just moved to Portland, Ore. to plant a church. Hardest of all is that they took our soon-to-be-born granddaughter, Lydia, with them. But I assure you, while the separation hurts sometimes, the reward that our children are engaged in taking the Gospel to youth and a lost city is worth it. With thanksgiving, we rejoice that God would allow our family to be involved in the harvest.
Stop and pray for your children and grandchildren to be the answer to the need for laborers in the fields of this world.