Cathi and I now have 5 grandchildren (4 boys and 1 girl). There may be more to come, who knows? So, at this Thanksgiving, it is instinctive for us to be grateful to God for these lives to hold, to raise, to pray for, to teach, to bring to church, to read the Bible to, to tell them the gospel and point them to Jesus. But, those actions, are not simply nice traditions and stabilizing practices that provide structure. I see those actions as nothing less than the response of emergency teams to a five-alarm fire.
Someone once wrote:
"Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it - his bottle, his mother's attention, his playmate's toy, his uncle's watch. Deny him these wants, and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which would be murderous, were he not so helpless. He is dirty. He has no moral, no knowledge, no skills. This means that all children, not just certain children, are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in this selfcentered world of his infancy, given free rein to his impulsive actions to satisfy his wants, every child would grow up a criminal, a thief, a killer, a rapist."
Wow, that is pretty strong for our refined and sophisticated ears, isn't it? You may be thinking, what angry, harsh preacher said that? Actually, that was a report from the Minnesota Crime Commission in 1926. And, the commission is right! That is a big part of the reason why, the longer I live, the more urgency I sense for our church and every church to be relentlessly gospel-focused. Even though public crime commissions would be shamed and fired, if they released reports like this today, it does not change the truth of it. People are born with a sinful nature and that propensity to rebel and sin will rule them unless they come to Christ.
I am truly grateful that we are close to paying off our building. But, I am way more focused on keeping our eyes on target and staying the course of faithfulness to Christ. There is too much at stake not to. I am also grateful that you see this too.