Let Your Children Go!
I have a friend who recently accepted Jesus. He has been growing in his faith and learning more about the Bible. We do discipleship regularly, and it is exciting to see what God is doing in his life. He is in his 20’s and is about to graduate from college. However, his parents, who are not saved, do not seem very excited about his new faith in Christ. They do not like that he is going to church and cares about the things of God. They tell him that he should spend less time on Christian things and more time in his studies. They have spent their money putting him through college to become an engineer, and they don’t like that he has been “distracted” by God’s things.
This is very common on the mission field. Many parents do not want their children to go to church or to be around the church. This includes their kids that are well into their 20’s or even 30’s. They don’t want them to consider being a pastor or serving in the ministry. Some parents will kick their children out of the house for getting baptized or disown their children. It is something very sad, and I am sure that most of you would agree with me that what they are doing is wrong and that the children should continue to serve Jesus even if their parents disapprove.
I want to say that this is limited to the mission field and unsaved parents, but sadly, that is not the case. I have traveled to over 300 different Baptist churches all over America, and some of the finest Christians in the world do this same thing with their kids and will not let their children go. They want their child to go to church and not to get into trouble, but they do not want them to get too excited about Jesus. They don’t want them to be a pastor and especially not a missionary. If they are going to serve Jesus, then they have to get a college degree to have something to fall back in case that does not work out. They say that it is okay to be a missionary as long as they go to a traditional college for four years. Of course, after four years, they are working and have forgotten about their dreams of being a missionary.
I want to ask you as a parent to let your child go. If they’re going to do something for God, there is no reason to hold them back. You are worried about their future and only want the best for your child, but if God is working in their hearts to do something for God, why would that not be the best. They may fail and realize that being in the ministry is not for them, but I don’t believe that there is a downside in spending several years serving God. I want to share some of the ways that I have seen parents not let go of their children.
Have a Backup Plan
Many parents say that they are okay with their children becoming missionaries or pastors as long as they have a backup plan. As long as they have a degree in accounting or business from a reputable college, they can follow their dreams of being a missionary. I believe this shows that the parent believes that their child will fail in the ministry, and the parent wants to make sure that their child is taken care of when they don’t succeed.
This necessity to have backup plans is why parents tell their kids they have to go to college for a “real” degree before studying to be in the ministry. They forbid their children to pursue serving the Lord until they get their backup degree. They force their children to choose between beginning to study for the ministry at the cost of the disobedience and disapproval of their parents or having all their expenses paid, and the approval of their parents in getting a “real” degree. It is not surprising that many young people choose the more comfortable option.
I have heard and seen this situation over and over again. A majority of the time the ministry is forgotten over the next four years, and even if they still have a desire to be a missionary or pastor after finishing, they are put under pressure to use their degree that they earn because the parents spent thousands and thousands of dollars paying for their degree.
Obey your Parents
Many times when parents disapprove of the desire of the children to be in the ministry or to go to a missions school or some other college to study to be in the ministry, they will pull out Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. They will then say to their child that if they go to that other college to study for the ministry, they are not obeying their parents and sinning against God. If you are sinning against God, then how can you want to serve Him?
If you are using this argument against your child, then it is evident that there are problems in your relationship. How many husbands have tried to use Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. to their demise. If you are using this verse against your wife, it is pretty clear that there are problems in your home, and I don’t believe there is a wife who hears their husband spouting off this verse that suddenly becomes a quiet, submissive wife. Usually, it is contrary, and there are only more arguments and fighting. Interestingly, we won’t use Ephesians 5:22 against our wives, at least if we have any sense, but we are more than willing to use Eph 6:2 against our children. If we are resorting to this, then it is evident that we are trying to control our child and not help them obey the Lord.
The question is, when does a child stop being a child? Would you say that a 60 man has to do everything his 80 father wants him to do? I think most people would agree that he does not have to obey and do everything that his father wants him to do. The son is going to care and honor his father in every way possible, but it doesn’t mean that if his father wants him to move to another state that he has to. There are many arguments about at what age a person becomes an adult and not a child, but I believe that at least in America, the accepted and legal age of adulthood is 18 years old. I am sure some people would argue with me, but if someone can vote, serve in the army, and is no longer considered a minor, I believe they are an adult and no longer a child.
You Aren’t Ready
Many parents will convince their children that they are not ready to serve God. They will bring up their child’s faults or failures and show them how they are not worthy to serve God. If you want to serve God, then why did you get angry and throw something last month? What many parents forget is that God has always used imperfect people. We are sinners—all of us. Every person used by God has had faults. If you read the Bible, you will see that it is full of people that made many mistakes. To serve in the ministry, you must grow and gain maturity, but what better way to do that than going to a school to prepare you for serving God?
You are never going to be perfect or thoroughly prepare to serve God, but that is not a reason to not try. I think the parents that have seen their children go into the ministry were surprised to see how much they grew and matured. If you would like to learn about a wonderful place to go to train for the ministry, you can click here. Also, to hear some advice from my pastor about preparing for the ministry, you can click here.
Please let your children go. If they want to serve God, don’t hold them back but do everything to help them.