Jenny loved playing with her friends. She and Mary played dolls, jumped rope outside, and raced their bikes down the street and back. They spent as much time playing together as possible during the summer.
Jenny’s mom made fresh chocolate chips cookies that they snacked on while swinging in the backyard. But Mary had to leave soon because it was lunchtime.
“Mom,” Jenny called out, “can Mary stay for lunch?”
“Sure,” Mom replied, “If it’s okay with her mom.”
Excitedly, Jenny and Mary went to kitchen to call Mary’s mom. Jenny quickly pointed out the phone sitting on Mom’s desk. Mary looked around, “Where?”
“There,” Jenny said, pointing to the object with the coiled cord hanging off the side.
“What’s wrong with your phone?” Mary asked, completely baffled by what she saw. This phone was weird; it didn’t look like their phone at all.
One generation is so familiar with something that it is second nature. They can accomplish the task without even thinking about it.
A rotary phone was common in the 20th century. But kiddos today have no idea that to place a call, you would lift the handle, listen for the dial tone, and then turn the dial for each digit in the person’s phone number.
What if you don’t take the time to teach a certain skill to the upcoming generation? Is it possible for a skill or some type of knowledge to completely disappear within one generation?
Yes, it is.
In fact, it’s already happened at least once in history—to the nation of Israel.
God dramatically rescued Israel from extreme, abusive slavery in Egypt. Then, God gave them a new home by miraculously removing the nations that occupied the land. Through astounding victories, God proved He was the one fighting the battles, not the Israelite soldiers.
The Israelites moved in to the land,
took up residence in already built homes,
harvested crops they didn’t plant,
and became enamored with the new and different gods of the nations they now occupied.
Frankly, they forgot from where they came and why they could enjoy the riches of this new land.
“But the People of Israel made themselves at home among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites [the people already living in this new country]. They married their daughters and gave their own daughters to their sons in marriage. And they worshiped their gods.”
In one generation, an entire nation forgot about the miraculous rescue of God and the commands He had given to live holy lives.
“Eventually that entire generation died and was buried. Then another generation grew up that didn’t know anything of God or the work he had done for Israel.”
How did this happen?
When life was no longer a struggle to simply survive, Israel became complacent and lazy. They didn’t sense their absolute need for God each day. Therefore, they gradually became less concerned with following God’s ways as carefully as they had only a few years earlier. Sarah Young, in her book Jesus Today, (p. 332) says:
“When you are working on a challenging project, you tend to seek [Jesus’] face and [His] help frequently. You look to [Him] in a listening mode…When the task before you is less challenging, you tend to be less attentive to [Jesus]. You may even forget about [Him] for a while as your mind slips toward neutral. You forget that you live in a world at war—with an enemy that never rests.”
Could it happen today? Unless we as parents diligently teach our children about who God is, yes, it could happen. In fact, it will happen.
Ephesians 6:18, in THE Message version, reminds us to stay on guard:
“In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
Just like the people of Israel, when we become comfortable with anything in our life, we tend to go into autopilot. We are less aware of what is happening around us. We are more likely to let something slide because it really isn’t “all that bad.”
Parenting is hard work and demands consistency in all areas of child-rearing. But it’s very easy to get tired, entrenched in work or dreams, and forget that we are the ones responsible to teach our children how to do life with God and others.
It is human nature to become comfortable and then complacent.
Which is why the Bible repeatedly calls us to remember.
One way to teach our children about who God is, is to remind them of specific ways God has met your family’s needs. For instance, during their high school years, each one of our kiddos took at least one overseas youth mission trip. To make a trip, they had to earn or raise the funds to cover the cost. We didn’t pay for these trips for our kiddos. As we prayed together about God providing the funds, He did — either through odd jobs that “just came up” for the kids or through actual financial support as the result of requests made to friends and family.
Psalm 77:11 says:
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.”
Each time we remind each other of God’s past provision and protection, we strengthen our faith individually and collectively.
Unless we remember who God is and all that He is done, unless we recount the character and experiences of God to each other repeatedly, Christianity is one generation away from extinction.
How well are you teaching your kiddos about who God is and what He has done through the ages? If you are doing great in this area, congratulations and keep going. If you see there is room for improvement, what is one thing you can change today to teach your kiddos about God? Leave a comment below.
If you need help, please reach out. I promise to listen without judgment and help you take the next step.