– Pastor Brandon’s article from the February 2018 Newsletter
In just a few short weeks, Hannah and I will be welcoming a new little one into our family. Anticipation is building as we approach the due date. Is the baby a boy or a girl? We’ll find out soon. The first two were early arrivals, so we’ve got to be ready to go as we enter February. We’ve been prepping hospital bags, looking for baby clothes, and discussing names. William is excited – he knows the drill – but poor Kate has no clue what’s coming. It has been amazing getting to know the unique person that God has made each one of them to be, and now we’re eager to meet our new baby and cherish this new life.
As we make preparations for the arrival of number three, I am once again reminded of the awesome blessing and responsibility of raising a child. As parents we are charged with their nurture and care and with helping them to develop and grow into the people that God calls them to be. I understand that ultimately these precious ones belong to the Lord, and I want them to love him above all else. It’s my job to be an example and show them how to walk with God. I also understand that my influence will not only extend to my children, but in some way, the things I do can have an impact for generations to come.
While this is certainly true with our natural children, I wonder how often we give thought to what we might call our “spiritual” children. The idea of spiritual offspring is quite common in Scripture. As followers of Jesus we are called to reproduce ourselves by helping others follow Jesus. Disciples are called to make more disciples so that we end up passing our faith from one spiritual generation to the next. We are not strictly speaking about groups of people who are older or younger, but rather mature followers of Jesus nurturing
For example, the apostle John exclaims, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4). He is not talking about his literal children, but rather, those who have come to faith through his service to the Lord. Just as a natural father takes pride in the success of his children, so this spiritual father is overjoyed by the consistent faith of those he raised in Christ.
In a similar way, Paul calls Timothy “my true son in the faith” as he encourages him to lead the church at Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:2). In another letter, he says to him, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others (2 Timothy 2:1-2). Did you catch what is going on here? Paul has passed the truths of the faith along to Timothy and is now instructing him to share it with others. His influence doesn’t stop with Timothy; he has several generations of believers in mind. Timothy should be entrusting these things to reliable men who will then be able to share them with others. And so it should go through generation after generation.
As Hannah and I anticipate the arrival of this little one, we make plans and prepare ourselves materially, mentally, and spiritually. We give careful thought to our ways and pray about how to nurture this new life. In the same way, I wonder what kind of thought we as believers give to our spiritual offspring. Had we even planned on having any? The Lord has commanded us to make disciples, hasn’t he? What will your spiritual legacy be? Who are your true sons and daughters in the faith? To whom will you pass on these eternal truths and how will you help them affect the next generation? What joy will you have when you see these dear ones walking in truth? May the Lord bless you as you bear fruit and multiply!