Jesus gave him back to his mother. Luke 7:15
J. Wilbur Chapman, the great Presbyterian evangelist, used a sermon to retell a story he had heard: A father came into the bedroom where his young son, his body ravaged by disease, was dying. The boy asked, "Daddy, lift me up?" The father gently put his hands under the boy’s withered body and lifted him up from the bed, just a little. "Lift me higher," the boy pleaded. "Daddy, lift me higher." The father lifted his son until he was holding the boy above his head. When he let the boy down, his son was dead. It seemed, to the father, as if he had actually lifted his son into the very arms of Christ.
That was the story Chapman told, but it is not the end of the story. After Dr. Chapman had finished his story and service, a man came to him and said, “Dr. Chapman, it happened just as you said. I went into my son’s room. My minister was with me. I lifted my son up and his weak voice came back to me in whispers saying, "Higher, Daddy, higher.” When I took him down, he had gone. But, Dr. Chapman, I want you to know, I had lifted my son into the arms of Christ long before. When he was a very small boy I taught him of a Savior's love, and told him what it means to be a Christian."
As I travel the country, I have the opportunity to see a great many children. I often wonder, "Do those children know to whom they belong?" Yes, they may carry the genetic imprint of their parents. They may have a proud family name. But do they know they are God’s sons and daughters?
It occurs to me that if we give our children the best education money can buy, all the stuff stocked on the toy store shelves, designer clothes, and the latest video games, but don’t give them Christ, those children are spiritual paupers. If we teach them how to play every team sport, impart to them all the skills they need to survive in a dog-eat-dog world, but hold back in telling them about the Savior, those children are spiritual orphans.
This is why I encourage parents and grandparents, pastors and parishes, to lift up their children to the Lord. Give them back to the one who watches over them when we cannot, who protects them from problems we don’t see, who will be with them after we are gone. Lift up your children to God who allowed His Son to die so that our sons and daughters might live.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on June 20, 2004—Father's Day
THE PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for allowing Your Son to die so that our sons and daughters might live. Help me to lift up the children in my life, pointing them towards You. In Your Name, Amen.
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