Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Treasures From the Past
In Hebrews 12:1, we are told: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us...." Never was I more aware of this than when I went through some boxes I had in a bedroom closet the other night. I was looking diligently for some precious pictures of my father to share with friends and family on Facebook in honor of Father's Day.
What I came across blessed me to the core.
Buried deep in the two boxes of pictures were items my mother had held on to throughout her life. There was a beautiful baptismal certificate showing when my mother was presented for baptism. I came across her confirmation picture and certificate as well as her Bible. Then, I found my great, great grandfather's catechism book written in German for he came from Germany as a boy. It was the Heidelberg Catechism that he had studied. There it was for me to see. My mother, her mother (my grandmother) and my father's great grandfather all had studied the same catechism and been raised in homes where it was taught and believed. They are a part of this great crowd of witnesses who have gone on before. How blessed I was as I looked at these treasures knowing that because they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ I will see them again in heaven when the Lord calls me home.
As I have thought about this rich heritage, I am reminded that the Lord has called us to likewise pass on to our children and grandchildren the faith that was once delivered to us. The greatest treasure we can give those we love is to tell them what we believe and why we believe it. In the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord called upon families to teach their children the truths about Him. Deuteronomy 11:19 tells us: "You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." This covers nearly the entire day, but what riches there are in God's Word and His laws. God's admonition in these verses are for the church today not just for time past.
Unfortunately, many today think of catechisms as old relics rather than viewing them as aids and summaries of important doctrine and beliefs in the Christian faith. Certainly they do not replace the Bible which is our one true foundation for life and practice, but they add to our understanding. However, it is important that instruction begins in the home and then, is augmented by the church. This is how we pass on the truth about Jesus Christ by instruction and living it before them.
When it comes to acting on our faith, we are further instructed in Hebrews 12:1 to throw off everything which hinders us and the sin that can entangle us. We are told to persevere. In the second verse of the chapter, we are likewise instructed to keep our eyes on Jesus and follow His example of selfless love. This is how we can leave a legacy for our children.
As my mother was taught the Heidelberg Catechism in her home, so she assisted me in learning the Westminster Catechism. Little did I realize in my teen years what a great treasure had been passed on to me. Now, I can look back in joy knowing their lives are hidden with Christ in heaven. What legacy will you leave your children? Will they look through your papers one day and find you faithful to the call of Christ in your life? I pray for all who are reading this that we may rise to the occasion and teach our children the truth of God's Word for His glory and their salvation. Selah!