Why Most Children Walk Away From Faith...

"Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things..."

I think Jesus would say the same thing to us today as parents.  We are a distracted generation.

In the land of opportunity, there are just so many opportunities that we worry over whether or not we are giving our children the right ones to prepare them for life.  We enroll them in the best schools.  We find the best extra curricular activities for their unique personalities.  We work extra jobs and contort our schedules to fit all the activities that they participate in.  We wake up early and go to bed late, often hag-ridden, during their seasons of busyness.  We give them seasons of joy often filled with electronic distractions at home and lavish vacations away from home to make up for the seasons of weariness.  We think of every way for them to get ahead and build a foundation that will serve them well as they exit our household and enter the greater world around them.

Yet, despite our best efforts, it seems that many of them don't take their faith with them when they leave home.  Statistics have consistently shown between 60-88% of churched youth will abandon their faith during the college years.

"...but only one thing is needed..."

As Jesus made clear to Martha, only one thing matters in the eyes of God...a relationship with Jesus.

If we parent in such a way where our children succeed in the eyes of the world, but do not know and love Jesus with all their heart, we haven't parented well in the eyes of God.

Unfortunately, in our land of distraction, disguised as opportunity, we, like Martha, often choose the distraction over the one thing needed.

Carefully consider the following:

Do you put more value on a clean room than knowledge of the Word of God?  All you have to do to find out is ask yourself honestly which you ask more about.  Most of us, most likely put more of an emphasis on our children having a clean room than having a relationship with God.  And if a clean room receives more emphasis in our family priorities than Christ does in our daily activity, we will end up with children who become adults who know how to keep a house clean, but not a soul.

Do you focus more on keeping your commitments to the activities that your children are involved in or keeping the commitments God deems as important?  If a soccer game has tournaments on Sundays, do we adjust our church schedule to fit our soccer game or adjust our soccer schedule to fit our church attendance?  Every time we choose extra-curricular activities over the gathering of believers, we teach our children that commitment to our faith is optional, but commitment to our games are more important.  And if extra-curricular activities receive more emphasis in our family priorities than the gathering of believers, we will end up with children who become adults who worship at the altar of entertainment on Sunday mornings, but miss the support that comes with a group of people with shared faith.

Are you more concerned with whether or not your children are doing well in school, or are you supplementing their faith with books that will foster understanding at the same level of their academic growth?  Many children have approached their parents concerning something fun they wanted to do, only to be met with the question, "Have you finished your homework?"  But how many parents have followed up that question with, "Have you finished your Christian reading for the day?"  For most, it hasn't even entered their mind.  And if growth in the area of academics is encouraged, but not an equal fervor in their faith, then we will have children who know how to set a business plan in motion, or discern the greatest of scientific discoveries, but be wholly unprepared for the simplest attacks on their faith or how their faith should inform either their business plan or scientific discoveries or personal decisions in life.

We could ask the same of prayer vs. video games & netflix, outreach/service vs. the things we do for our children or they do for themselves and giving vs. receiving, but you get the point.

We have created and been sucked into a culture that subtly subverts Christ in every area of our lives and because we don't recognize it, we stand utterly unprepared and devastated when the lukewarm faith that we have passed down to our children produces the fruits of our labor.

This is a warning and a wake up call:  "Only one thing is needed"...let's make sure, as parents, we are, above all else, striving for it instead of anything that threatens to stand in its place.

"Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

If Christ is truly raised from the dead, then there is no greater truth to teach or pass down to our children.  The risen Christ informs the Christian of every decision that he or she makes.  He speaks of our brokenness and He makes a way for our healing through His death on the cross.  His resurrection gives us hope that He has truly conquered sin and death and has come to provide for us life everlasting, as well as, life to the fullest here on earth.  He is our life and should saturate every area of it.  His words should be hidden in our heart and will be a beacon to light our path.  He will correct us when we go astray and encourage us as we stand for Him alone.  His words are the only ones worth building a foundation on and the only one that can withstand the tempests that we and our children will face in this life.  Only when we treat Christ as the treasure that He is, will He not be taken from us or our children.

And while there are those who have built a solid foundation that have been rejected by their children, those are generally the exception and not the rule.

Let us strive for creating a culture of faith in our families where the abandonment of faith becomes the exception and not the rule.  Let us love Jesus well.  Let us love Jesus first.  And let us not allow anything to take His proper place in our or our children's lives.

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