1 Timothy 5:8 - But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
My father, the blacksmith, knew that lead melts at 621 degrees Fahrenheit and aluminum turns to a liquid when it is heated to 1,200.
Me? All I know is that 1,200 degrees is very hot and 1,292 degrees is hotter still.
I mention 1,292 degrees because that is the temperature which was reached when a fire ripped through a shopping center in Kemerovo, Siberia. Twelve-hundred and ninety-two degrees was the temperature of the fire which took the lives of 64 people. Twelve-hundred and ninety-two degrees was the temperature which wiped out a school class which had come to see a movie, eat ice cream, and jump on trampolines.
That, my friends is a tragedy.
It is a tragedy which was made worse when the mourning nation found out that
1. the emergency exits had been locked or blocked;
2. a security guard turned off the fire alarm when it went off;
3. first-responders debated for 15 minutes about how they should proceed;
4. a father's request for an oxygen face mask was turned down because everything had to be done by the regulations;
5. many of the school children said their farewells via social media. Thirteen-year-old Maria wrote, "We are burning. Perhaps this is goodbye." Another girl, a child named Vika, called her aunt and said, "Please tell mom that I loved her. Please tell everyone that I loved them."
Yes, that is a tragedy. It is a tragedy of such a scope that it is hard to imagine anything worse.
It is hard, but it is not impossible. I think Jesus was imagining something worse when He said, "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6).
I think St. Paul was imagining something worse when he wrote the words which serve as the theme for this devotion: "But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
Those, my friends, are incredibly strong words, and they are not used lightly.
The truth is the Savior, His apostle, and all of the church have always known the incredibly important role parents and grandparents play in the spiritual development of their children. Good pastors, caring teachers, and special youth workers can do many things, but their best efforts usually pale in contrast to the wonderful work which Christian parents can do.
This is why we commend those adults who are first to teach and live out the love, care, and sacrifice of the Savior, and it is an encouragement for others who still have work to do. On Judgment Day, none of us want to hear any of our children say, "We are burning. Perhaps this is goodbye."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, while there is time may I do all I can to share the Savior's love with the little ones entrusted to me. At the same time, I commend them to Your care. Let them always be counted as members of the family of faith. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Matthew Bodner for the Washington Post on March 26, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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