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Opening point: The act of home education is not an end in itself. It is a means to achieve the end that God has called us to pursue; namely, to raise children to love the Lord and their neighbor. The best way to measure the success of your home schooling efforts will not be in grades given as much as hearts changed and molded for the Master's use.
The Biblical goal that must inform and guide our every move as home educators is Christ-likeness. Our children will never be properly prepared for life or for service in God's Kingdom unless they learn to embrace their duty to love God and their neighbor as Christ did. We must never settle for raising average children who fit in comfortably with the secular world. We must be determined to raise extra ordinary or peculiar children who are equipped to let their light shine before men to the glory of God.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is recorded in Luke Chapter 10 and will be referred to on a regular basis during the talk.
2. One person, walking in the power of God's spirit, can make a genuine difference in the world. Gracious people are world changers. History is not commonly shaped by majorities but by highly dedicated and zealous individuals. Secular government leaders are not at the center of God's plan to heal or bless broken people or broken cultures. God has called his covenant people, both Jew and Gentile, to be His ambassadors. Just how serious are we about raising children who will impact the world for King Jesus?
Although the task of training good Samaritans is a long term commitment requiring lots of prayer and persistence, it is not as formidable as many would think. It is quite encouraging to realize that our children need no special gifting or skills to qualify for their training. Your child does not need to be:
No parent who raises a child to love God and his neighbor is a true failure. The world is unworthy of unsung heroes who lay up for themselves treasures in heaven by walking in love.
Key principles that the Good Samaritan can teach both parents and the children they train:
The Good Samaritan was ready and willing to buy up the opportunities that God placed before him. He knew what it means to take initiative or ownership over a duty that God gives. Only a small number of young people are taught to be self-starters. Most children need to be pushed or prodded to get them to take action.
Children also need to be taught the principle of stewardship. All of the health/wealth they possess is a gift from God, loaned to them for a season. They have the duty to "invest" their time/talents wisely. The Bible teaches that every good and perfect gift comes from above and that we brought nothing into this world and we will carry nothing out.
Some day every person will stand before Almighty God and give an account of how they utilized every hour and ever dollar they were entrusted with during their life.
Children must be taught that life is a battleground, not a playground. The way to the crown of life is ordained to be through the cross of humility and self-denial. Christ Himself took the form of a servant. We are also called to pick up our cross and follow Him. Servanthood is not slavery. In fact, the Bible declares that he who would be chief among you let him be a servant. Parents must lead their children to embrace the reality that the meek will inherit the earth.
Children must be taught to give honor to whom honor is due.
Parents must, to this end, raise a godly standard in their home for who is to be regarded as a hero. Who are your children's heroes? Too often, we permit rock stars and sports personalities to be those individuals that our children regard as role models. Begin the task of replacing the worldly and vain heroes with the real thing. Buy posters, paintings, or books that give honor to those who have showed the courage to be compassionate.
Teach your children to be like the Good Samaritan insofar as he was blind to matters of race, rank, or class in his view of his neighbor. Encourage by your example and your tongue as you demonstrate how to condescend to people of low estate. Jesus deliberately chose the "hero" of His story to be a Samaritan. To any self righteous Jew, a Samaritan was regarded with contempt, as a dog!
Teach your children the importance of being lead by the Spirit and how it is that the Holy Spirit grants vision to see the needs of others and the boldness to minister into the lives of others. Spirit-filled people are gracious people who are alive unto righteousness. Such individuals see things that others don't notice or comprehend. In God's vineyard, faithful workmen are always in short supply. The laborers are few because the vision is small. The Samaritan saw the needy man because he had the God-given capacity to look upon a situation with the eyes of loving interest. Christ often marveled at how spiritually dull his disciples were and He often needed to guide them to the place where they could truly see what was important. My favorite example is the Parable of the Widow's Mite from Mark, chapter 12.
It is highly unlikely that our children will ever be brought to the point of seeing the need to develop a lifestyle of laying up for themselves treasures in heaven if we seldom talk of heaven. One of my most common failings as a parent is to neglect the doctrine of heaven. My children need to hear more about the reality of heaven and so do your children. Our children need to know that although they are saved or redeemed by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ; yet, as the book of Revelation testifies, our works do matter to God and they do indeed follow us into the next life in heaven. Teach your children about those works that are regarded by Christ as precious and enduring and, therefore, worthy of double honor or reward. Also, help them to recognize those works that are merely wood, hay, and stubble and worthy of little reward.
The Bible does not identify Christians as "peculiar" people for nothing. We are strangers and pilgrims on the earth; we are those who are just passing through this world in preparation for the next level of intimacy with our Maker. Help your children to see the folly of trying to be a man-pleaser caught up in the game of trying to be just like everyone else. The great and perpetual sin of the Hebrews was their desire to want to be just like the people of the world.
The Samaritan in Christ's story was "good" precisely because he dared to be different - he dared to be lead by the Spirit both in and out of season. Be very afraid and concerned when your children get drawn into the fool's game of needing to conform to the image and spirit of the world, instead of Christ. I see far too many parents standing still in the face of secular assaults to get our children to look like, smell like, and act like carnally minded fools. It is very liberating for young people to be brought to the place of knowing that they do not need to seek to be approved by men.
Closing - By the time our children reach the age of 20 almost no one will know or care to know how many A's they received on their report cards. Some of the most wicked and destructive individuals that have ever lived were well-educated and were raised in "Christian" households. Such people were given every advantage in life except that which is most needful - they were never taught that he who loses his life in service to God and his neighbor actually finds it.
When young minds are left to flounder on the rocks of secular humanism they naturally fall prey to the lie that success can only be defined in terms of worldly gain in temporary things.
Of all that we have covered, however, in terms of the priority of raising Good Samaritans, we have yet to touch upon the greatest and grandest purpose for transmitting this message to the next generation.
Speaking of loving and serving others, Christ taught that "Whatsoever ye do unto the least of these ye have done it unto me." This one fact alone puts the business or duty of raising Good Samaritans into its proper perspective and priority. Following God's plan and purpose for life does not simply lead to a place of rewards; it leads us into fellowship with the One who promised never to leave us or forsake us. To walk in love as God's dear children is indeed the greatest reward of all. A fruitful and abundant life is quite impossible to discover if we fail to abide in the Vine, in the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ.
May God grant us as parents the wisdom, strength, and vision to make it our chief goal to raise more than intellectually impressive children - may we be empowered to raise up a generation of gracious warriors for Christ's Kingdom, those who overcome the world through the power of Christian charity.
This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of Mike McHugh.
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