“What Do These Stones Mean?” Part 2 (Joshua 4:6)
by Terry Broome
Faithful parents and teachers need to tirelessly tell the meaning of things God declares to be important.Students of the Bible recognize early on in reading the Scriptures that God has always depended on each generation to instill faith in the hearts of succeeding generations by relating tirelessly the stories of God and His love over and over again.
Jochebed did this with her son, Moses. Eunice and Lois did the same with young Timothy. Faith can only be produced through hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17) and a generation of untaught boys and girls is a sore reflection on the generation that failed to teach them. God has equipped us with the same kind of tools of memory triggers today that He put in place with the stones at Gilgal just beyond the Jordan River.
For example, when our boys and girls see their parents taking the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week, it’s fascinating to watch the curiosity in their eyes. One can tell that the little children are just dying to get hold of these emblems for themselves for lack of understanding. Very early on they learn the wonderful words in our vocabulary that trigger the learning process: “Why?” “What?” and “When?” “Why do you drink from that cup and eat that cracker?” “What does it mean.” “When can I have some?”
We are desperately in need of parents and teachers who never grow tired of answering those questions. We must never grow tired of telling over and over again the timeless story of Jesus and His love. We should thrill at each opportunity, and rejoice that someone has seen something about Christianity that makes them want to ask, “What does this mean?” Advertisers know very well the value of repeating slogans constantly. Our children need to always be reminded of their “roots” and of the spiritual significance in everything we do in worship to God.
It is especially noteworthy that when the family and the church join forces together to help mold character within our boys and girls, a greater success is predictable. Typically, the church may have visible influence over the child from two to six hours per week. Parents have an overwhelming responsibility to see to it that those children learn far more than what they can receive in two short classes and two sermons plus a youth devotional per week.
Many years ago, Clayton Pepper, editor and owner of Christian Lighthouse, Inc., and editor of a long running magazine quarterly, PERSONAL EVANGELISM, reported in one of his many study journals some interesting findings regarding the significance of parents and children working together to keep God’s religion alive for generations.
I’ve long since misplaced the source article but I’ve kept a quote from it. Pepper was associated with the juvenile courts of Davidson County from the late 1950s for over thirty years, and a long-time friend of Judge Sam Davis Tate. Pepper reported that the late Judge, a faithful member of the church and a juvenile judge in Nashville, Tennessee was a strong supporter of the Bible School, and of family participation in it. He was convinced of its positive influence on children, having heard some 46,000 cases of youth below 18 years of age. Of all those who appeared before him, only 135 were regular in both Bible School and worship.
Of the 46,000 cases, there were only 17 involved where the mother, father, and children were all regular in their attendance in both Bible Study and Worship. This calculates to 344 to 1 odds of not becoming a delinquent when a child alone is regular in attendance. Significantly, those odds improve to 2706 to 1 where both parents and children were involved.
The subject of conversation at an Israelite family’s table should have frequently gone back to the wonderful story of deliverance. The conversation of early Christians needed to focus on all the wonderful stories of Jesus. We can equally see that families today could easily lose touch with God – If we forget to talk about “The Stones” or memorials God has placed in His church.
The author can be reached for comments at 256-574-2489.