The fact that I received the “Thank You” note didn’t surprise me. I occasionally receive those for helping out with funerals, weddings, or gospel meetings. But this note contained a comment that did surprise me. It’s a comment I’ve seldom heard in my years of serving as a preacher.
In the note the fellow mentioned how his young son had taken careful notes during the lessons I had presented at his home congregation. He then added, “We are working hard to encourage him to be a preacher.” I have reflected on that comment with joy many times since reading it.
I suppose every parent has dreams about what their children will become. Though we may not always reveal those dreams, we wish for them prosperity, happiness, and some degree of fame. Some parents project their own unrealized dreams upon their children and apply pressure to try to make their child attain goals not their own. “I want them to have a better life than I was able to have,” is a statement often heard.
But what about this dream that their son become a preacher? It’s unusual to hear a parent say that. Is it because we want our sons to “do better” for themselves? Are we concerned for their image in the community? Why is it that so few seem to want their sons to go in this direction?
Jesus once observed that “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37,38, NKJV). Here is a command from our Lord — to pray that more laborers be sent into the harvest. Do we pray this prayer regularly? Are we doing what we can to make this prayer come true?
We’re not advocating that any mothers or fathers push their sons into the ministry. If a person is not comfortable with that vocation (as with any vocation), they will not do well in that field. But perhaps we need to adjust our talk. Instead of only asking little boys if they want to grow up to be firemen, professional athletes, or doctors, we should also ask if they’ve thought about becoming preachers. If no one ever mentions the possibility, why should it occur to them to investigate that work?
There’s no greater life than serving the Lord, whether it be full-time ministry or serving in other ways. Let’s make sure our children hear that often.
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
What kind of life are we seeking for our children?