For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
I remember a Sunday when, while I was preaching, a little child managed to escape from his parents who were sitting in the baby benches at the back of the church. With some amusement I watched his progress as he crawled under the benches. I could see where he was by watching people jump up when he touched the back of their legs.
This is just my way of saying it's not always well-behaved children who come to church.
That being said, I would like to share the results of a survey made by Mississippi State University. That survey interviewed the parents and teachers of more than 16,000 students. The adults were asked questions like
* does the child have self-control?
* does the child show happy or unhappy behavior?
* does the child have respect for his peers?
When those results were compared with how often a child goes to church, some interesting facts came to light. It was discovered that children who were brought to church by their parents showed better self-control, social skills, and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents.
Those results didn't surprise me. What did give me a start is when some psychologists came forward and confessed they couldn't figure out why religion seems to have a far greater effect on children than other organizations, which also provide a social network and direction for the young ones.
While there may be many answers to that question, I have found one which seems to explain why Christian kids are often better kids. To the church in Ephesus, St. Paul said, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
Translated into practical terms the Lord is saying, "Parenthood doesn't come with a training manual. Even so, when a child who is My workmanship is brought up according to the way I would like, that child and his home are going to be blessed. Conversely, when a child is allowed to ignore Me and the salvation that comes through the Savior's life, suffering, death and resurrection ... the opposite will be true."
So, even if your children and grandchildren occasionally escape and crawl under the pews, I hope I'll still see you in church next Sunday.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us realize You have a wisdom that surpasses our own limited understanding. Grant our families the grace to do that which You ask of them. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries