Officials from the Public Security Bureau in China invaded a Sunday School room at a church in early 2005. Once inside they found thirty children and quickly herded them into a van. Even though it was a scary situation, one child began to sing which prompted the others to join in. As they got to the police station, the children bravely marched into the interrogation room, still singing to the Lord. The communist officers attempted to force the kids to write, “I do not believe in Jesus” telling them that they must write that a hundred times as the condition for their release. Instead, they wrote: “I believe in Jesus today. I will believe in Jesus tomorrow. I will believe in Jesus forever !”
The exasperated Chinese officials called the children’s parents next and some renounced Christ to secure their young ones but one widow refused when she came to pick up her twin sons so the officers threatened her saying, “If you don’t deny Jesus we won’t release your sons.” She replied, “Well, I guess you will just have to keep them, because without Jesus, there would be no way for me to take care of them !” Frustrated by her faith, they said, “Take your sons and go !”
It was a little over two centuries ago Ben Franklin was asked by a woman what kind of government they had just set up in America and he replied, “We have given you a republic, madam, if you can keep it !” And today we are striving to do just that but in a more important arena. Each day presents its challenges and opportunities to us to KEEP our faith !!
As Paul was close to his own martyrdom he wrote these important words: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have KEPT the faith.” (2Tim.4:7). The faithful apostle was so right, his life was as shining example of one that had at one time done things shameful in the name of the Lord but he had accepted salvation from Christ and from that point on went on to live just as he had written here. He had his battles, God had a “course” for him and he guarded carefully that path laid out for his life. Just like those Chinese youngsters he had stood tall for Jesus. And just as Franklin warned us he’d defended a great trust !
But what are we now to do? The trust is the same to us religiously free Americans and blood bought believers. We must pass on the same faith we had passed on to us or it will not be passed on to those after us. If you have kids, grandkids or even great-grandkids – do they see in you a strong love for God? Is His plan serious to you (the local church)? Its easy to miss a service here or there but when we do, what message does it send to them? If they never see us read the Bible or pray or see us act one way at church and another outside its walls what faith are we showing them?
I’ve often thought about the little ways we pass on the faith. How about when you come to a “small” matter of making sure you are honest when you’re given back too much change at the store? Responding graciously when others haven’t been so to you? Taking care before little ears what you say about others ? We ask them to say “please” and “thank you” as young children demanding them to learn politeness but do we expect it just as much with ourselves? When stressful days come do they see that we have asked for the Lord’s strength as they watch our lives go through these situations?
Keeping the faith is often not an easy thing to do but its right and its contagious when its truly seen. We’ll have no worries about how our kids fare in the next generation if we leave them something Christlike in this one ! If kids can do it, then by the grace of God, so can we as adults.