Your duty as parents is to teach your children to delight in the things of the Lord. The goal is not just well-behaved children who have no delight in the Lord; but children who are obedient & self-controlled because they delight in the Lord.
A large part of this duty is done by training your children how to worship the Lord here each Sunday. It’s a glory to have a congregation full of little ones. They truly are a blessing, even when they might be a little more vocal or squirmy than they should be. Parents, and dads especially, should vigilantly work to teach your children how good & pleasant it is to worship the living God. Don’t get ruffled & flustered if Jr. needs ten trips to the discipline room to get his attitude squared away. After all, our Heavenly Father has been exceedingly patient to teach us the same lessons repeatedly.
The best way to prepare your children to worship rightly here at church is by showering them with attentive love at home. This means consistent discipline. Focused attention. Speech that’s both gentle & stern, without a note of irritation & annoyance. Turn your hearts to your children, so that they might turn their hearts to the Father.
Now, a word to the whole congregation. As families are laboring–and it is a labor–to train their little ones, be exceedingly gracious & helpful. This may look like lending a helping hand to a mom when the dad is taking Jr. out. Refrain from giving glares or unsolicited advice. Perhaps ask beforehand if you can help get them the wine during communion, since their hands are full of babies.
The sum is this: while children are most welcome here, we are welcoming them into the delight of God’s presence, not into the narcissist self-absorption of our culture.
Ben Zornes – October 8, 2023