One of the oldest debates in education, psychology and other related fields is nature versus nurture. What qualities are we born with and which ones are a result of our environment? For parents, the question becomes “How much can I and should I influence my child’s personality and gifts?”. I believe the Bible can give us some answers.
There aren’t a lot of people in the Bible about whom God gives us details of their childhood through their death. Moses is one of the interesting ones. You may recall that as a Hebrew baby in Egypt, Moses begins his life in danger of having it taken from him. His family sets him afloat in hopes of saving his life. Sure enough, Pharaoh’s daughter finds the child and raises him as her own. She even brings Moses’ real mother in to nurse him and help care for him.
We are more familiar with the stories of Moses as an adult. From his killing of the Egyptian to shepherding in Midian to leading the people of Israel to the very edge of the Promised Land (where he dies), we get a pretty full picture of his life. So how did God appear to use Moses’ parents (both birth and adopted) to prepare Moses for the mission God had in store for him?
Oddly enough, we get perhaps our biggest clue from the New Testament. Acts 7:22 tells us Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. I find it interesting that in the midst of everything Stephen was saying, he thought it was important to throw that tidbit into the story of Moses. I am not sure why Stephen did, but I do believe it tells us something about the way God works.
We know God says more than once there are works prepared for us. The fact that this bit of information about Moses is shared with us, makes me think God wants us to realize something else. In addition to the gifts God gives us, the time and place where He places us and the natural bent of our personality, God expects His people to prepare to do His works.
Moses isn’t the only example. Look at the Apostle Paul. He had spent his youth training at the feet of one of the most respected teachers in Judaism at the time. Even after his conversion, Paul spent about three years in the desert preparing before he started his ministry. (Galatians 1:15-18) Think about it. Paul was quite possibly one of the most effective missionaries for Christ the world has ever seen. Yet God had Paul spend three entire years (some say more) in the desert preparing.
Now we don’t know exactly what happened in the desert, but I believe we can take an important application from it. If our children are going to do God’s work, we need to help prepare them. In fact, if you have been following our 12 month challenge of Teaching Our Children to Live More Like Jesus, that is your challenge for the month of October. How are you preparing your children to do God’s work?
Maybe you feel as if you just “fell into” whatever ministry you serve. Perhaps you think you happen to just be in the right time and place to serve God the way you do. Think about it though. How did you learn the skills you have used for God? Who taught you the scriptures and godly principles you now know and share with others? How much easier would it be to serve and obey God if your parents, teachers and the other adults in your life had been purposeful about preparing you to serve God?
In my next post, I’ll share with you some ideas about how you can help prepare your children to serve the Lord. Until then, I would love to hear what you are doing to help prepare your children in a purposeful way. I might even share some of your ideas in future posts!