Ann Roda

Associate Pastor

New Hope SDA Church

Fulton, Maryland

Summary: In this article we learn that children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them leaves an impression. That impression could last for decades—even centuries. Whether we have children of our own or not, we all have interaction with children.

Cement

ement is the most used construction material in the world. Cement was first invented by the Assyrians and Babylonians using clay. The Egyptians advanced cement with the discovery of lime and gypsum mortar as a binding agent for building such structures as the Pyramids.

The Romans, mastered the binding element of cement and produced structures of remarkable durability such as the Coliseum.

Cement begins in a powder form. When it is mixed with just the right amount of water, the resulting chemical reaction transforms this powder into a mixture that can be shaped and molded. Hardened—cement is a rock solid substance—taking on the shape that its builder intended.

How many times have you seen on a cement sidewalk an imprint of a dog’s paw, or the footprints of a bird. Or perhaps a bicycle tire of a rider who didn’t stop soon enough, a shoe print or even a whole hand print. Or perhaps someone wrote their name or expressed their affections for someone else. The impressions left on that cement could last for decades, even centuries.

Children

Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them leaves an impression. That impression could last for decades—even centuries. Whether we have children of our own or not, we all have interaction with children. They are a part of our lives.

Have you ever thought what kind of impression you are leaving on a child in your life?

One day, I was a bit late picking up my three nieces from school. I had gotten lost and had nightmares of them standing alone in an empty school parking lot. By the time I got to their school, I was really frazzled. On the drive back home, I was still feeling very intense and when someone almost ran us off the road, I did not respond appropriately to the situation. I screamed at the other driver and at that moment certain words left my mouth, I knew I was leaving a bad impression.

I looked back at my rearview mirror and saw three pairs of big eyes staring back at me with hands over mouth. It was an unusual reaction on my part and they were shocked that I was capable of that type of behavior. What immediately went through my mind at that moment was “wet cement.”

I want you to reflect on your own life for a moment. What kind of impression are you leaving on a child? Parents, every single day, what kind of impression does your child go to sleep with? What is the last thing he/she sees and hears that becomes part of his/her dreams? Is it a good, positive, healthy impression? Is it a Godly impression?

Parents

Impressing upon children that which is Godly, is a very important thing to God. God is very protective of children. God created families as a place where children can learn to love God and grow to be life-long followers of Jesus Christ. God has given parents the responsibility, not just to care for and protect their children, but to create an environment where God is present, where Godly values are reinforced, where God’s character is seen and experienced in life and behavior.

Every parent is called by God to be the primary spiritual mentor of their children. It is not the church, not the pastor, but parents, who have been given the responsibility by God for their children becoming men and women of God.

The role of the church is to be a partner with the family. To support, encourage, train, equip, and pray with parents in order to empower and enable them to fulfill the call and mission as given by God.

The charge that God has for parents is outlined in Deuteronomy 6:5-9:

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Relationship

When we hear a passage like this we automatically think of a bunch of rules and regulations required by God that we have to follow. Yes, God has given us a set of commandments that He requires us to follow, however, the context of this passage is much more than rules and laws and decrees. It is about a love relationship with God. This passage begins with the word “love” as in the context of a love relationship that comes from our hearts, our souls and with all our strength. This suggests relationship, not a dictatorship.

This relationship with God that we are to have in our hearts is to be impressed upon children. It’s not the rules that are to be impressed, but our relationship with God and our response to God because of our love relationship with Him. We are called to teach, show, tell children about the experience of God in our own lives. If God is not in us, then we have nothing to teach our children. We cannot impress upon children something we ourselves do not have.

Stewardship

The value and habits of Godly stewardship cannot be impressed upon children unless moms and dads themselves have incorporated Godly stewardship principles in their lives. This goes beyond the giving of tithe and offering every week. Rather, it has to do with the primacy of God in the life and choices of the family.

Everything you do must stem from the awareness that you live only to love, obey, and serve God. In every decision ask the questions: Who will we obey? Whose commands will we surrender to? Whose expectations will we submit to? Who will we ultimately serve? Godly stewardship begins with centering your family life on the values of loving, obeying, and serving God. This is one of the most important life lessons to impress upon children. Because cement, once hardened, can last for centuries.

What impressions of Godly stewardship do you want to permanently leave for your children and their children’s children?

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July–September, 2008

Family Finance