BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem; he and his daughters made repairs” (Neh 3:12 NKJV).
The book of Nehemiah details how the broken wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt, mentioning those who participated in the project, and what each person or group did. A man, Shallum, the son of Hallohesh, was mentioned in the scripture above. He was a leader of half the district of Jerusalem. This man didn’t just get involved in the repairs alone; Shallum and his daughters actively participated in the rebuilding of a section of the wall.
There is a lesson there especially these days that most people don’t render any service in church but only attend services! Kingdom service is not for parents or adults alone. Everybody has a part to play. There’s a place for children – sons and daughters – to serve. Sons also participated in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (Neh 3:3). In the days of Ezra, sons worked with their parents to supervise the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 3:9). Gal 3:28-29 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (NKJV).
Joshua said he and his family would serve the LORD (Josh 24:15). Make a similar decision on behalf of your family. See that you and your entire family, including your children, serve the LORD. Direct them to keep the way of the LORD and do what is right and just (Gen 18:19).
Aaron and his children
Aaron and his sons served the LORD as priests, though two of them, Nadab and Abihu, later offered profane fire before the LORD; they consequently died before the LORD, childless (Num 3:1-4; Lev 10:1-2). Teach your children to serve the LORD reverently because he is both a loving God and a consuming fire (Heb 12:29b; Deut 4:24). They should avoid irreverent behavior.
Eli and his children
Eli and his sons served the LORD as priests. Unfortunately, his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, also abused their office. 1 Sam 2:12 says they were scoundrels who had no respect for the LORD or for their duties as priests. They treated with contempt the sacrifices of worshippers and satisfied their selfish desires. The LORD expressed his displeasure at the sins of Eli’s sons and at Eli for esteeming his children above him (1 Sam 1:3, 2:12-17, 27-36). He judged Eli and his children. Tragically, they died the same day! (1 Sam 4) The LORD also withdrew the priesthood from Eli’s house (1 Sam 1:30-33). Abiathar was the last priest from there (1 Kings 1:7-25; 2:26-27).
Parents must never fail to correct their children. According to Prov 29:15, “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (NKJV). The New Living Translation says, “To discipline and reprimand a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.”
Love for children or any family member must never supersede love for the LORD. That was Eli’s error, and the LORD punished him for it. The LORD told Samuel, “For I have told him [Eli] that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them” (1 Sam 3:13 NKJV).
Samuel and his children
Samuel served the LORD assisting Eli (1 Sam 3:1). After the demise of Eli, he also served the LORD with his own children. Unfortunately, like Eli’s sons, Samuel’s children didn’t behave well as judges. They didn’t walk in Samuel’s ways; they turned aside, after dishonest gains, took bribes, and perverted justice (1 Sam 8:2-3). This made the leaders of Israel to ask for a king like all the other nations had (verses 4-6). You won’t fail the LORD over your children in Jesus’ name.
Asaph, Meman and Jeduthun and their sons
1 Chron 25:1-8 says that the sons of Asaph, Meman and Jeduthun worked under their fathers – under the directions of their fathers. Their fathers were appointed by David and the army commanders to proclaim God’s messages accompanied by lyres, harps and cymbals. Under the directions of their fathers, they made music at the house of the LORD, playing these musical instruments (verses 6-8).
So the sons of Asaph, Meman and Jeduthun served God with their fathers. They must have become very skillful by the time they became older! Teaching your children to serve the LORD with you helps you to disciple them for the LORD early in life and plant in them the seed of kingdom service before Satan tries to distract them with other unprofitable pursuits. Many musicians started in the church but, sad to say, they’re today using their skills to serve the devil, leading several souls to hell fire. May such people have divine encounters and return to the LORD.
Philip and his daughters
Philip was a table server, a deacon (Acts 6:5). He later became an evangelist (Acts 8:5-40). According to Acts 21:9, he had four daughters who prophesied – they had the gift of prophecy. These are the kind of daughters that make the hearts of their parents rejoice, not those who are sources of embarrassment to their parents. Philip’s daughters were not prostitutes while their father was an evangelist! Your children shall turn out well and bring you honour, not shame in Jesus’ name!
Prov 22:6 says train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Train your children to serve the LORD now so that they’ll grow up to serve him. Sending them to the best schools is not enough. It will be great if they serve the LORD now and in future even as they aspire to be the best in their life pursuits. Education without Jesus is miseducation! “And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?” (Mark 8:36 NLT)
A generation that knew not the LORD
The Bible says Israel served the LORD in the days of Joshua and all the days of elders that outlived Joshua (Josh 24:31; Judg 2:7). Sadly, a generation came that knew not the LORD or the works he had done for Israel (Judg 2:10). This younger generation didn’t serve the LORD. You must not only serve the LORD; you must inculcate in your children the same spirit so that they serve the LORD with you. Encourage them to serve the LORD with their lives and in any department in your church that is suitable for their age and their gifts.
How to serve the LORD with your children
1. Love and serve the LORD with all your heart and soul (Deut 11:13; 1 Sam 12:20). You and your children must put God first. Be totally committed to the LORD. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt 6:33). The beginning is to surrender your life to Jesus and lead your children to Christ (John 3:3).
2. Serve the LORD by obeying him and doing his will. You and your children should live for the LORD and represent him well everywhere by obeying him and doing his will (1 Sam 15:22; Eccl 12:13; John 14:15; Matt 6:10). By your personal example and teaching, let your children know that Christians should be the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Matt 5:13, 14). Do God’s will, not yours (Luke 22:42).
3. Serve the LORD by using your gifts faithfully (Matt 25:21, 23). Identify and use your gifts faithfully. Serving others is serving the LORD! The Bible describes Epaphras as a faithful minister or servant of Christ (Col 1:7). You and your children should be committed to a local assembly where you’ll faithfully render service. Whether your service appears significant or not, be faithful (Luke 16:10-12). God rewards faithfulness! Go beyond mere church attendance. Be a family of church workers!
4. Serve the LORD in holiness and with reverent fear (Josh 24:19; Psalm 2:11). Be an example of holiness to your children. Everyone should serve the LORD in holiness. The LORD is holy. Get rid of sin in your life. The LORD deserves all your honour, worship and regard. Don’t take him for granted thereby provoking him to anger; esteem him.
5. Serve the LORD with gladness (Psalm 100:2). Serve the LORD out of love not as if you’re serving a punishment! Serve him as a son serving his father not as a slave. “And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly” (Rom 12:8b NLT).
Moses told the Israelites that because they did not serve the LORD their God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, they would serve their enemies, and suffer other calamities until He had destroyed them (Deut 28:47-48). Serving the LORD with gladness attracts a blessing; serving the LORD otherwise attracts a curse. “Never be lazy in your work, but serve the LORD enthusiastically” (Rom 12:11 NLT).
6. Serve the LORD willingly and eagerly. Don’t serve the LORD grudgingly, and don’t serve because of what you’ll get out of it. Don’t become a hireling (1 Pet 5:2). Paul the apostle says about preaching the gospel, “For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship” (1 Cor 9:17 NKJV). The LORD loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7). You and your children should serve the LORD willingly and eagerly. Psalm 110:3a says, “In that day of battle, your people will serve you willingly” (NLT).
7. Serve the LORD with humility (Acts 20:19a). You and your children must serve the LORD with humility. Parents should avoid pride in the service of the LORD, and teach your children this truth. Men’s praise shouldn’t be their focus. Everyone must remain humble. It’s not about you; the LORD is only using you! You’re not worthy of praise; you’re servants who have simply done your duty (Luke 17:10). Be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).
Receive honour with humility and return all the glory to God. Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think (Rom 12:3). Remain as servants while the LORD is your Master!
8. Serve the LORD with endurance. Paul didn’t just serve the LORD with humility, he served him with many tears and trials which happened to him by the plotting of the Jew (Acts 20:19). Serving the LORD is not always rosy. That is why you need endurance. Those who lack this easily quit because of challenges. Paul said, “Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:3 NLT). The Bible says we should run with endurance the race that is set before us (Heb 12:1c)
He says in 2 Tim 4:5, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions [sufferings], do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (NKJV). Regard any suffering in the course of service as a light and temporary affliction incomparable to the eternal reward awaiting you (2 Cor 4:17-18).
Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb 12:2).
Conclusion: You and your children should serve the LORD out of love for him. However, the LORD has promised some blessings for those who serve him. He’ll bless them with food and water and keep them healthy; they won’t have miscarriages or infertility, and he’ll give them long, full lives (Exo 23:25-26). Subsequent verses talk about the other promises of the LORD to those who serve him.
The LORD has not asked you to serve him in vain (Isa 45:19). He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6). He is coming soon, and his reward is with him, to repay all according to their deeds (Rev 22:12). Serve the Lord with your children.
If you’re not born again, I want to urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess and forsake my sins today. I confess and forsake my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God”
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you’ll be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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