Question: Have you ever given your children back to God?
(I bet some of us have had this thought in the past – or even now)
“I’d like to give them back—but I didn’t think God would take them. I thought He had a ‘no returns’ policy on children! Besides, I’ve lost the receipt!”
I am sure the truth is, there is not a parent here who hasn’t had a few moments or days when they wouldn’t have liked to package up that child and take him/her back to God’s customer service counter and demand, “I want my money back!”
A few little quotes from parents:
Ex: “When first married we had 3 theories on raising children…now we have 3 children and no theories!”
Ex: John came to his Mum and asked, “Mum, what would you like for your birthday this year?” She said, “I would like 3 well-behaved children!” John said, “Then there would be six of us!”
Ex: Why isn’t having a child like learning to drive? Your need to have a book of instructions, pass your theory test and then your practice test before your allowed on the road.
I wonder how many of us would pass???
· Well, I’m not suggesting you return your children to God and try to get your money back, when I ask you if you have ever given your children back to God.
Children are a great delight to us most of the time and we read the beginning of Hannah’s prayer in the reading, her prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of her son at the beginning of 1 Sam 2.
Then Hannah prayed and said:
My heart rejoices in the Lord
In the Lord my horn is lifted up
My mouth boasts over my enemies
For I delight in your deliverance
There is no-one holy like the Lord
There is no-one besides you
There is no Rock like our God.
The language and Hannah’s joy
· So what are we being asked to do you really when we dedicate our child to God:
We need to recognise our children are a precious gift from the Lord, and they belong ultimately and always to God first—and then to us. We are looking after them on God’s behalf.
Give ownership of your children to God who is responsible for the way in which they were designed and already knows the plan and purpose for their future?
Remember God has left it up to us to show them His way?
There are many examples of parents in the Bible who brought their children to God and gave them back to Him:
1. There is the classic example of Hannah bringing her son Samuel (Hannah had prayed God would give her a son) and presenting him to God, and handing young Samuel over to Eli the priest.
(I Sam. 1:27-28).
27 I prayed for this child; and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him: 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life, he shall be given over to the Lord.
2. You remember Joseph and Mary brought the infant child Jesus to the temple following his circumcision at 8 days. they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (Lk. 2:22).
· What does it mean to give your child back to God ? It means 4 things:
1) Giving your child to God is a CONFIRMATION of YOUR love for God.
· The first thing you are saying when you give that child back to the Lord is simply this…that you love God even more than you love that child because you believe God is ultimate love and he only wants the best for them
When they are born and that tiny little bundle is held in your hand for the first time – you can’t help but think –
I love you so much, that I want the very best for you.
The best means: you giving them to God, putting in boundaries and discipline for them, changing our lives for their benefit for example if they have a disability…we do whatever it takes because we are parents because we love them!
2) Giving your children to God is a CLARIFICATION of ownership.
–When you give your child back to God, you are openly declaring that:
· This child is a gift from God.
· This child does not really belong to me.
· This child belongs to God.
You have the privilege to love and train this child. But this child is not yours—but God’s! we are just stewards of the child)
3) Giving Your Child To God is A COMMITMENT from you to Raise Your Children God’s Way!
Eph. 6:4 says we are to – Bring our children up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Giving your child to God is not just a CEREMONY for today …It is a COMMITMENT for all their tomorrows.
And what does this mean as parents (all of us as parents should think about this whatever the age of our children)
It is a commitment that you are going to:
· Be a Godly parent. (Which means as people we need to be right with God)
· Teach your child about Jesus· Keep this child in touch with the church.
· Love this child. (even if loving them means disciplining them or sometimes God disciplining us!)
· Pray for this child.
· Teach and support this child.
· Both be there for your child
· Make your home a loving home
· Live life God’s way.
This special ceremony means nothing – if you are not making a sincere, life-long commitment to raise Amelia God’s way!
And I would say the same to the Special friends who have been chosen to help Marina and Gareth. You also must play your part to ensure that you support them in these commitments.
4) Giving Your Children To God is a CLAIMING of God’s plan and promises for your child’s life.
Your children are blessed by you following God’s commandments.
Of course children have free will, but you stack the odds in their favor or against them by the way YOU live!
As you obey God with your life, you are demonstrating to your children the best way to live and your children will with God’s help follow your example and go on to receive very best God has for their life.
Proverbs 22:6 –
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
…So, this is what it means to give your children back to God:
1) It is a CONFIRMATION of your love for Christ.
2) It is a CLARIFICATION of ownership of your child (God is the one who owns our children).
3) It is a COMMITMENT to raise your child in way Jesus taught us to live.
4) It is a CLAIMING of God’s best plan and promises for that child’s life.
A final thought – do you remember the quote at the beginning about the manual and passing the test to drive
Well I believe we HAVE been given a manual and it’s called the Bible which gives us the guidance we need.
Instead of getting a 1 off test to check out our theory – we get multiple goes of trying and failing and going back to the manual for more instructions. The Bible is always there to refer to.
But most of all I believe that we get an even better deal on the driving lessons – Instead of having an instructor for the lessons until we pass and then we are on our own.
We have a God who is always with us in the presence of Jesus Christ and we have the power of his Holy Spirit who promises to walk with us through life if we ask him to.
When times are difficult and they always will be when we have children and it doesn’’t change when they get older.
Then we have a loving God who as we said before only wants the very best for our children because they are his gift to us.
Speak to him, ask him for his help and advice put your trust in him and he will be in the driving seat of your life and that of your children.