More than a “Good Example”
You cannot earn your child’s place in Heaven
Growing up in a small town, I loved driving past the local car wash on Main Street for one reason: they had a sign with changeable letters.
The sign owners would change the display often – switching from riddles, to knock-knock jokes, to [in]famous quotes, to sales… but, one thing stayed the same. We all paid attention to that sign.
Fast-forward 20 years and you’d often find me driving past a similar sign that sits in front of a local church that I live near. If you saw me drive past it today, you’d have seen me turn pale as I read this week’s “inspirational” quote:
“The greatest thing you can give your child is a good example”
Here’s why I disagree and wanted to take down the words from the sign where I read them:
As parents, we cannot place the weight of our children’s future squarely on our shoulders. Our children need more than good examples. Good examples won’t get them to heaven, friends.
From a secular understanding, I’d totally agree. The only thing you can give your children, if this world is all there is, is an example to watch. They’ll choose whether or not to follow that example – but it’s yours to offer.
From the understanding that I’m coming from, that there are greater things yet to come (and, by yet to come, I mean to say that there will be life that continues long after my lungs no longer have breath in them), the greatest thing I can offer my children is a relationship with Jesus. The example I set for them will pale in comparison to the life-changing power of God’s spirit in their lives.
All too often, parents neglect the spiritual ramifications of their choices and their examples. If I truly believed that the most important thing, 100 years from now, is my child’s relationship with their creator… would I ever choose to skip gathering with the Church because of sports, a birthday party or a homework assignment? If I had a sign that hung over my door, reminding me that the one thing that matters is my child’s relationship with Jesus, would that change the way I approach the day? I think it would.
This is not to say that a good example is meaningless. Rather, the example I set shows my children what it looks like to be a husband and a father who loves Jesus. But, friends, my example is not the greatest gift I can give to my children. My example matters, but it isn’t enough to save them. The school they go to, the grades they get, the sports they play, the scholarships they receive, the person they marry, the job they get or the house they live in will not save them.
That’s something that only a relationship with Jesus can do.
Unless, of course, this world is truly all that there is. Then your example is all you have to offer. If that’s your worldview, then this sign is for you.
However, I believe in something bigger than what I can offer my kids.
How about you?
Agree or disagree?