North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose by Matt Dobson

A pastor friend of mine once said the most important workers in the church are the nursery volunteers and children’s Sunday School teachers. In other words, the pliable minds of children are fertile soil in which to cultivate the Bible’s wonderful lessons. It’s during the first five (5) years of a child’s life personalities are developed. The years to follow are reinforcements of what is learned. Sadly, some children have to endure negative reinforcements from parents, teachers, and their peers. You and I can do something about that. It takes patient work and some are not willing to give the extra effort it takes. Why? Because it can be hard work and it requires we put our own projects on hold. Many a self-sacrificing parent and grandparent have devoted unselfishly their time to teaching a child the honest, positive, and right ways to live (Prov. 22:6).

An old proverb says: “An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” This means your child will reflect in his or her words and actions most of the things which he or she sees and hears right in your own home. God cares about how you raise your children. He knows you want your child to be successful and happy with life. God wants good for you and good for your children (Matt. 7:11).

Jesus was known for showing his love for children. They would surround him many times to the point the disciples thought they were crowding him too much. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matt. 19:14). You and I would do well to appreciate the trusting nature of a child. For it is with trust in our Heavenly Father we can glean the greatest of tools to live a life of prosperity and good health. You have an amazing opportunity to establish the Kingdom of God on earth through your children. If you choose to follow God’s commandments, your children will come closer to mirroring that same image. You need to show your children and grandchildren it pays to be honest and decent.

It’s a true risk to wait until your children are grown up before showing them the need to live for God. Children and teens from this generation need God more now than ever before. It’s never too early to start talking about God with them. As they grow and mature in body, mind, and spirit, they will start having dreams of the future. Things that are important to them should be important to you. I would caution any parent to laugh at any dream your child shares with you. No matter how creative or far-fetched it may seem to you. You can ease reality into it, but never, ever tell them they can’t do something. Encourage your child to work hard, to seek advice, and to take pride in any job that is given to them, whether it is a school project, volunteer work, or a paying job.

It’s important and natural for all caring, loving parents to want their children to live honest lives that include prosperity and security. This may seem old fashioned to some. Society will tell them to seek riches and power. The way your children live is just as important today as it was when all the little children were crowding around Jesus’ feet. You must show them the way to Jesus. You must show them that men and women can live this life without untold riches, but no man or woman can survive very long without love and respect. Teach these things and give them these things.

Remember they are individuals too with a life to live as God has proposed. Help them find God’s will as much as you can. Give them moral and ethical training they can apply at home, at school, at church, and in the world (Eph. 6:4). Neither you nor I can keep them from coming under bad influences forever. While they’re under your care, help make them strong, surround them with good people, and encourage them in some way every day. Pass your faith on to them, so in your temptations and trials they will have power to overcome evil.

Make yourself available to your children, so they are able to seek you out with their troubles, worries, and concerns. Give them faith in you, which is known as the second faith. Be sure to give them wise counsel as best you can, but don’t force it on them. Jesus spent his life and ministry giving help and counsel, but never forced it on anyone. Tell them about your mistakes, as you deem appropriate. Share the lessons you learned from your difficulties and if in some way it helps them—surely you can know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). And finally, load the kids in the car this Sunday and go to church, attend faithfully each week, and follow God in all your ways.

  • This weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, University of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida. Matthew can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts and questions concerning faith, belief, and Christian living.
Posted by on Mar 4 2012. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Living With Purpose by Matt Dobson”

  1. Joseph B Padilla, SR.

    Great Story.
    I wish Everyone would read this story you wrote.
    I do hope that I was a Good parent to my kids.
    Thank you for this story.

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