January 4, 2014
(Jesus said) "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" Mark 8:36
On his radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor talks about a town "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average." Those words describe most of us who believe our children truly are above average.
Well, I don't know whether our children are above average, but three-year-old Alice Amos of Guildford, Surrey, in England seems to fit the bill. At her young age, Amos, whose tests say she has an IQ of 162, has just been admitted to Mensa, the organization for really smart people.
So impressive was Amos' performance, Professor Joan Freeman, the child expert who tested the little girl, said, "It is clear that she has the capacity to do almost whatever she wants in life." I am glad that Professor Freeman added that qualifying word, "almost."
The truth is not Alice Amos, not you, not me, not our above-average children and grandchildren can do whatever we want in life.
For example, none of us can stop ourselves from being sinners. If you've ever tried, you know how frustratingly futile it can be. Like St. Paul, we end up doing the bad we're trying to avoid and fail at doing the good toward which we are striving.
No, we can't stop ourselves from being sinners, and we can't save ourselves either. As smart as she is, Alice Amos will never achieve the perfection necessary to save herself from the condemnation of the Law. She will never be able to resist every temptation the devil throws into her path, and she will never be able to defeat sadness, sorrow and sickness, discouragement, depression and death.
This is why Alice Amos needs a Savior. So do you, so do I, and so do our above-average children and grandchildren.
Now I believe we parents and grandparents are willing to make great sacrifices to prepare our children for life. We will get them the best education we can afford. We will try to make sure their bodies are toned and trained for the race they will be running.
That is as it should be. But we dare not forget the importance of our children's souls.
Two thousand years ago, the Savior observed, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" We might paraphrase those words and apply them to our own loved ones this way: what does it profit a boy or girl if they are academically outstanding or athletically superior and have no faith?
You know the answer: to have brains and brawn and beauty, but to have no Savior is both terrible and tragic. Far better for our young ones to have readin', writin', 'rithmatic and the Redeemer. If they have all these, then, they will, like St. Paul, be able to say, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are many important things we wish to pass on to our above- average children and grandchildren. May the Savior always be at the top of that list. In His Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries