Saturday, July 26, 2008

Why Do This?

July 5, 2008

Starting a blog can be a tricky thing. After all, if it turns out to be read by a growing number of people, shouldn’t I expect some of them to go back and read the very first entry, just to see what inspired the whole thing? Thinking about the posterity of the event is enough to give me pause – what should I write about to get this blog off and running?

I think it must start with some answers to the “why” questions. Why create a new business venture around something like Christian homeschooling, especially when I have a career that many would deem to be successful? Why spend so much time doing something that is so financially uncertain, at a time in my life where I can be climbing the ladder of secular and financial success? Why pour out words to paper when there is so much else in my life that already demands daily attention?

The answer is by no means original – but then it doesn’t have to be. Malachi 4:6 sums up the reasons behind this new venture. The scripture says “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” It is no coincidence that these are the last words of the Old Testament. God knew in advance how the Bible canonization would be arranged, and He knew that these would be the last words on the Old Testament portion, and He divinely put these very words on the prophet Malachi’s heart to write down. God left us with a prediction of what was to come, and He placed it strategically in the writings because it is of utmost importance.

This verse comes to us in two parts. It is first a call to action, and second, it is a warning. God calls both fathers and children to change their hearts, and turn away from distractions that drive a wedge between them. Does such a wedge exist today? It does, as our society continually offers new forms of entertainment and occupation which divert both fathers and their children from investing in a deep, meaningful, and God-centered relationship. Every street, store, and computer screen offers various forms of time-killing escapism for people of any age. The father-child bond is broken or never forms, leaving families broken and searching - bustling with activity, yet lonely and unfulfilled. And when this relationship fails to develop, society offers any number of false salves to deaden our conscience and make us forget the One to whom we should return. If losing our grasp of the intended Christ-centered relationship were not enough, we are bombarded with erroneous ways to fill this gap. Unfortunately, they are rarely based on God’s truth, and so the “death spiral” begins.

God’s call to action is an imperative. Fathers must change their motivations, and prepare to exchange their selfish ways for a vision and lifestyle which prepares the next generation for God’s calling. And the vision doesn’t stop there. We should be readying our children to do the same with the generation that comes after them. And so on. The vision must extend to future generations, and prayer must be offered up for the future if we are to have any hope that God will bless our efforts. This multi-generational idea is not new – it is a principle found throughout the Bible - Proverbs 17:6, Exodus 3:15, and Joel 1:3 – “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.”

Psalm 112:2 talks about the reward for pursuing such a vision – “His children will be mighty in the land; each generation of the upright will be blessed.” As a father of three wonderful children, my goal is that God will bless their lives, and that this goal will have permanence in future generations, so that God’s blessings will fall on those children-to-be.

Note that Malachi ends with a warning – “or he will strike the land with a curse”. While this verse was given to Malachi to warn of the curse to the land of Israel, doesn’t it apply to our nation today? For all the love I have for our country, we are clearly far down the path of decadence and decline witnessed in so many other strong empires that fell because they abandoned God. I don’t want this collapse to occur while there is a chance of turning it around. I want my children, and the children who follow, to fight back against moral decline and godlessness.

The words in Malachi are a prediction, not a guess. He will turn the hearts of fathers and children toward each other. It is my sincere desire to be a part of that turning, and it is this thought that drives me to learn, labor, and share with others – to God’s glory.

The journey begins.

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