In one of the better known magazines that can be found on today’s newsstand is an article with the title,What Not to Tell a Child About God.
This definitely is the negative approach. And it seems as though modern child-psychology finds it quite difficult to avoid negative statements and negative instruction.
It is not our purpose to criticize this magazine article, even though we certainly do want to teach our children some of the things presented in that article as damaging to the spiritual life of the child. We certainly intend to teach our children that God sees all that which we do and keeps a perfect record of it. We certainly do intend to continue to give instruction to our children, in the family and in the church, that because Jehovah reigns, all things work together for good to those that love Him. These things are taught in the Word of God. We dare not deny them or keep them from His covenant seed. In passing we would state that the profound weakness of the whole article is that although it speaks of God, it does not turn to what Hehas spoken in His Word. There is not a reference in the whole article to the Word of God. But rather than to go into a detailed criticism of that article and point out in detail its teachings and what the Word of God says about these matters, we would take the positive approach and say a few things about what we ought to tell a child about God. That in this instance surely is far better.
And we suggest that our covenant parents place these lines under the eyes of their covenant seed to read and consider. They too must walk in His fear. The Word of God has something very specific to say to them. For through Solomon, that wisest of all mortals, God said in Ecclesiastes 12:1, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” And just before these memorable words youth had been addressed thus, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thine heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.”
Here surely you do have the command of God that youth be taught that God is looking down upon him and sees him in all that which he does. How else could He bring youth into judgment? Surely far better is it—and we do not know the stand of the author of this magazine article in regard to this matter—to teach a child that God is looking down and judging whether we are doing good or evil than to teach him that Santa Claus does these things!
However we like to begin with the approach to youth that Scripture uses. Youth, remember! Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth!
That God is our creator means that we owe all our existence to Him. Not only is every bit of the work necessary for our existence and connected with our existence to he attributed to Him alone; but the very thought, the desire, the plan to have us on this earth is with God from eternity. We are not the product of our own work. Neither are we the product of our own wills. We are what He is pleased to make us. And we are on this earth because it pleased Him to bring us into being. And that in itself already has tremendous implications for us and for our youth.
Since we are the product of God’s labor and owe all our existence to Him, we also owe unto Him all the thanks and praise for what we are and have. We have nothing that we have not received from Him. For all things, therefore, we owe Him praise and thanksgiving. We do not do that. We eat His food, and we forget all about Him. We breathe His air, walk on His earth, see His handiwork in all the things. round about us. We enjoy His sunlight and rain. We plow in His earth, plant His seed, reap His fruits, grind His flour to make our bread. But in it all we have no thought for Him. And in the days of our youth, we seek so many of the things in His universe as though they belonged to us. We eat and drink and are merry. All thought of God is far removed from our minds. For the greater share of the day He does not exist in our lives and thoughts. We wake up in the morning thinking of things, of creatures that He has made and of opportunities to satisfy the lust of our flesh, the lust of our eyes and the pride of life with His goods. But we have no thought of Him except, perhaps, because we were trained that way, and it has become only a habit, we do lift up a fleeting, hurried prayer to Him at set times in the day: when we eat and before we go to sleep, perhaps, But for the rest, we simply have no time—and sad to say, often no use—for God.
O, youth, remember! Remember thy Creator.
Fun! Pleasure! Amusements! Dates, picnics, banquets, games., sports, eating and sleeping! These are the life of youth. These are the things for which he lives. Take these away, he does not care to live. And God is not in all his thoughts! Covenant youth, let that not be said of you! Remember your Creator, and remember to praise and thank Him for life and health and strength and a sound mind and body, for allowing you to walk on His earth and breathe His air. Thank Him the first thing in the morning for having kept your heart beating while you forgot all about that important function of life and closed your eyes in sleep. Thank Him for having kept you inhaling the life giving oxygen and for continued breathing all night long. While you slumbered and slept, He watched with constant, unfailing care. O, indeed, remember to thank and praise your Creator for all His care and protection.
And if it has pleased Him to give you other things, afflictions, sickness, frailties of flesh and blood, if He has made it impossible for you to walk on His earth, and you must instead lie upon a bed of affliction, then still remember Him. And remember that He still is your Creator. He made you that way, and He has the sovereign right to make you that way. You can never, never change it that He is your Creator. You cannot undo that fact. And you are solemnly obliged to live according to that fact. Remember that your Creator is the Sovereign God Who does all His Own good pleasure. Never deny Him the right to do with you what He pleases. You did not create Him. He does not exist because you willed to have Him be the God that He is. And though we fuss and fume, complain and criticize, find fault and offer objections, He is not affected by all this in the least. He does not cease to be absolutely sovereign and right in all that which He does.
Besides, that He is your Creator means that you are solemnly obliged to serve Him every step of your earthly way with all that which He has given unto you. You are not your own, and you can never make yourself your own. You are His and have your calling from Him.
And He is the Creator of all things, of all the things that you and I see and use every day. These are His, and He gives them to us only in the sense that He supplies us with means wherewith to serve Him. Remember then, O youth, that even time is His creation. Be careful what you do with time. Heed the words of the Apostle and redeem the time. Buy it out. Make good use of every moment as God’s creature!
Why is it that youth can spend goodly sums of money for a night’s entertainment and grudgingly drop a dime or quarter in the collection plate on Sunday? Surely it means that we do not remember our Creator. We buy that old jalopie or shining new car. We can spend fabulous sums to keep it in showroom beauty and splendor. Gadget after gadget, ornament after ornament, with total disregard of the cost, must be added. But the cause of God’s kingdom, whether in church, or school, or house of mercy must be told that we cannot afford anything more. Young men and young women bringing down salaries equal to, if not at times even more than, married men, have at the end of the year nothing to show for it. And then this is not because they have given anywhere near a tenth of it to the cause of God’s kingdom but, as we said before, fun, pleasure, amusements, dates, sports, banquets and entertainment have so filled our lives we have thought for nothing else. And we have no money for God’s cause.
What if God would forget us as we forget Him? What if He had no more thought for us than we have for Him? We would be mighty poor. If He gave no more thought to us than we do to Him, nothing would go right in our lives and all would go wrong. Dare we then complain when it looks as though He has forgotten us? Should we not say, Yea, Lord, I deserve to be forgotten and to be denied the things of this earth. And should He take work away from us and give us skyrocketing hospital bills to pay and broken health, would we have any room to complain?
Youth, remember your Creator when He supplies you. with the things of this earth. Hold them in your hand, but say then to yourself and to Him, These are not mine but Gods. I am thankful for having the opportunity to use them in His service. I will seek the Kingdom of God and its righteousness first, and I know that what earthly things I need to continue this, God will add to me. My pay check is His gift to me. I may have earned it as far as the man through whom He gave it to me is concerned, but I surely did not earn it from God. He gave it to me. And I will use it as a wise steward of His goods, for He is my Creator and I am obliged to serve Him.
“Rejoice, O young man (and young woman), in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thine heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.”
And parents, tell your children these things. They were given to you to care for until they come to the years when they can know these things for themselves and can remember their Creator. Become not weary in well doing. Keep at it. Continue on your part to remind them, remind them and remind them again of these things. Only in that way do you as well remember your Creator and walk in His fear.
Youth may squander his money and spend his time in fun and pleasure; but parents may not squander their children and seek the line of least resistance, state a principle and sit back in ease when it is not carried out by youth. Remember to keep teaching them to remember their Creator.