The Joy of Passing on the Baton
John had clearly known this family well. He respected their mother as a godly woman, honouring her service for the church and to visitors. But however much she served other people, it was important that she served her own family; not just practically and emotionally, but that she taught them about Jesus, and how to follow Him.
News had reached John that some of her children were active disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. It brought him great joy because it meant that the gospel baton had been handed on to the next generation. It was also evidence that the lady’s children could see her godly integrity; she was the same in the home as she was at church and her children wanted to be like their mother in character, faith and service.
We do not know if all the children were believers and that John had only heard about some, or if only some had welcomed Jesus into their lives. But John was glad that the seed of the gospel was now taking root in younger hearts, from where it could be spread to many more. Undoubtedly their mother had invested gospel truth into their minds and hearts (Deuteronomy 6:7). Yet, their salvation was not automatic; blessed though they were with gospel truth and gospel example they still needed to respond to the Lord’s call for themselves (Romans 10:9-10). It was a step of faith their mother could not take for them.
God has no grandchildren, only children. Never assume that children will come to faith; they need to be taught about Jesus with clarity and integrity. That is a primary responsibility of believing parents. But no mother or father can make their children believe – it is the Holy Spirit’s work to take the truths about Christ, which have been taught and demonstrated, to convict the children’s hearts. And it is their responsibility to respond. When they do there is much joy! The gospel demands collaborative work between the Lord, His children and those who will become His children. God is certainly at work but we also have our part to play as parent, grandparent, relative or friend.
© Dr Paul Adams