Every four years, the world watches as the best athletes from all around the world gather to compete at the highest level of sports in the Olympic Games. In my opinion, one of the most captivating sports to watch are the track and field events. Although many athletes in track and field run races or compete in individual events, there are some whose performance will affect the success or failure of an entire team. For example, consider the interdependence of those who participate in the relay races. As I watch those relay races, I find myself on the edge of my seat as I keep my eyes on the runners coming around the bend and stretching forward with the baton in hand to pass it on to the next runner. It is at that crucial moment that one slip or one hesitation can lose the race for the team.
The Christian life has many similarities to a relay race. God has entrusted every generation of Christians to pass on the “Baton of Faith” to the next generation. This crucial window of time that we have to pass on “…the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3) is fleeting. One moment of hesitation or one slip and the opportunity may be lost. This idea of passing on our faith is seen in many places throughout the Word of God including in Psalm 78. Consider the verses written by Asaph in this chapter: “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done…That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (vv. 2-4, 6-7). Asaph understood the responsibility that fathers have been given in passing on the teaching of God’s Word with a multi-generational vision in mind. Not only did he speak of teaching his own children but of his children teaching their children. We are reminded here that we must teach our children to teach their children to teach their children and on and on. Asaph was concerned with showing the next generation God’s praise, God’s strength, and God’s wonderful works. And we must be committed to doing the same.
Christian parents must not give into passivity or think they can outsource this great responsibility they have been given in passing on God’s truth to the next generation. Every parent is a teacher, a discipler, and an evangelist to their own children. Charles Spurgeon once said, “…ministers and Sabbath-school teachers were never meant to be substitutes for mothers’ tears and fathers’ prayers.” It is our duty as parents (and grandparents) to successfully pass on the “Baton of Faith” that is in our hand!
~Pastor Aaron Francis