Saving Our Own
by Connie W. Adams
Over the years brethren have asked me a question which has always amazed me. Upon returning from a gospel meeting and reporting that so many obeyed the gospel, someone has been sure to ask "Were they just all young people?" Or "Were they just children of Christians?" JUST young people? JUST children of Christians?
I suppose those who raise this question man to imply that we ought to be evangelizing those who have had no family connection with Christians and that is true. But I can tell you that there are many parents over this nation and around the world who are Christians and whose children have grown up without obeying the gospel who would give anything if somebody could reach their own children with the truth.
Some of these young people have been taken to Bible classes and services since infancy but somewhere around junior high school age, they begin a resistance to the gospel which grows and hardens their hearts. All too many of them finish high school, go to college, or get married, or enter the job market and leave home unsaved.
Brethren who live and work in college and university towns or cities, tell me of many young people who come there to school who never attend a single service and who resist all efforts to help them spiritually. The problem is real and far from insignificant. Many of us are simply not saving our own.
Noah was a preacher of righteousness (II Peter 2:5). Through the spirit of the Lord he preached for 120 years "while the ark was preparing" (Genesis 6:3; I Peter 3:20). What was the result of all this effort? In the ark "eight souls were saved by water" (I Peter 3:20). EIGHT SOULS? After preaching 120 years? What a failure Noah was! Right? Wrong! He was eminently successful. You see, not only was Noah saved from the flood which brought destruction on the
world of the ungodly, but so were his wife, his three sons and their wives. Every human on the face of the earth today traces his ancestry through one of the sons of Noah. NOAH SAVED HIS OWN.
Contrast Noah with Eli, a priest, whose sons were vile. The statement is tersely made "And he restrained them not" (I Samuel 3:13). He lost his own while officiating for the people. Think of Samuel, a prophet, priest and judge. Much is said about his faithfulness in attending to his own duties before God. But his sons were evil and became the pretext the people used in clamoring for a king (I Samuel 8:1-5). In a lifetime of serving the people well, he did not save his own.
What Bible reader has not been touched by the pathetic moaning of David "Oh Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would God I had died for thee!" If all the tears of God's people down through time, shed for their own children, could be gathered in one place, they would fill an ocean. David defeated Goliath, conquered the Canaanite tribes, expanded the boundaries of his kingdom from the river of Egypt to the great river, Euphrates, wrote many beautiful psalms and is in the lineage of the Messiah. But he did not save his own.
Call the roll of men whose names became household words, men of renown, heroes of the faith. Yet many of them lost their children. Oh yes, through their years of preaching, writing, debating and devoting themselves to the kingdom, many of them lost their own. There is a great lesson here for those of us who preach. There are many demands on our time. We want to serve. We want to save all we can. But what of our children who would treasure some of that precious time spent with them; time for a picnic, ball game, camping trip, or simple game in the evening around the kitchen table- an investment of time with those we love?
While we spend hours locked away in an office with a word processor, writing articles to resolve burning issues of the day, or to prepare material for classes and sermons (all of which are commendable), what of those neglected "prospects for conversion" who are little by little drawn away into another world where we cannot reach them? Could it be that there are preachers, elders, deacons, Bible class teachers and other zealous Christians who are continually searching for "prospects" to lead to the Lord, who could find some in the family room being entertained before the TV or VCR?
Do they not wonder about the meaning of life? Do they not need guidance to find their way through the treacherous pressures around them every day? Do they need help to offset the influences of Darwinism, secular humanism, or even Satanism? Do they see religion as your profession and not as a personal commitment to the Lord?
Where are the mothers? Are careers more fulfilling than motherhood? Is an extra paycheck worth it, if through neglect of your own, they lock you out (could some of this be retribution?) and you finally awaken in dismay to the fact that they have no faith in the Lord?
Whole congregations have unwittingly contributed to losing our own. Where there is a history of bitterness and strife, young people growing up in such an atmosphere are turned off by the sham of those who profess to be leaders in Israel. I know of places which have lost a whole generation of young people for this reason.
It is difficult for the best of homes to offset such evil work in congregations. Instead of EXTENDED HELP to the home in saving our own, they become EXTENDED HINDRANCES and contribute to the loss of souls. We have reached the place where I am delighted to be able to answer the question, "Were those converted just children of members of the church?" by saying, "Yes, thank God, we were able to save some of our own." Evangelism begins at home.