A U-Haul for the 18th birthday?


At church, I usually announce community announcements along with the church announcements. Each year I would proclaim the date for the upcoming first day of school. One mother would applaud and say, “Yeah!” Her two daughters would be sitting next to her, the oldest with a sheepish smile and the younger would look at her mother with eyes of bewilderment.

I mentioned to her that her outward, public expression of joy at the thought of the kids being out of the house looked like it hurt her daughter’s feelings. She told me, “I was only kidding; they know that.”

Okay, but for the next several services when I mentioned the first day of school, she did it again, every single time.

I once had a father of a ten-year-old tell me he had the boy’s eighteenth birthday planned. I asked how so. He said, “On his eighteenth birthday I plan to give a big party and a U-Haul. The next day he can move out.”

Don’t we tend to want to spend time with those we love? How much could these three children feel loved?

Children are a gift from God (Genesis 33:5, 48:9; Psalm 127:3; Isaiah 8:18). Sometimes when a gift is received we smile and say thank you; then several years later we discover the item in a box in the garage and try to remember where we got it. Other gifts received are cherished. They are well taken care of, their whereabouts is never a mystery, and the item may even become family heirlooms passed down for generations.

When something, or someone, is cherished we are not looking forward to the day it is no longer in the house.

As parents we should raise our children to do the one thing we don’t want them to do – leave home. The kids need to be responsible, they need to be able to function in society, they need to be able to withstand the fiery darts of Satan when they leave home.

As parents, we are to teach, train, provide for, nurture, control, and love our children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Proverbs 22:6; 2 Corinthians 12:14; Ephesians 6:4; 1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 2:4).

These are not duties moms and dads should take lightly. Ezra 8:21, “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.”

They had to “afflict” themselves to find out what to do with their lives, the lives of their children and their money. God is doing more than telling us raising children won’t be easy; He’s telling us it will be hard. This difficulty is the reason we need to seek Him on how to do it. We cannot raise children correctly without Him.

From the list of verses above here are the God-given ways to raise children:

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 – teach your children the Word of God at every opportunity.

Proverbs 22:6 – train up the child. In other words, treat him like an apprentice. Someone you take under your wing and teach them all the tricks of the trade. However, the trade here is not the family business; it is the business of life. More precisely – a Godly life.

2 Corinthians 12:14 – Our finances are not for our toys, it is for their future; giving them an example of an unselfish, loving heart. This doesn’t mean give your kids everything they desire. They need to acquire a work ethic, an understanding of the value of a dollar and a benevolent heart.

Ephesians 6:4 – Use discipline as an opportunity to teach not solely as a means of punishment.

1 Timothy 3:4 – Set the example, be the leader, take responsibility. There are some homes where the four-year-old is in charge, passing out orders and making the final choices. Do not allow that to happen.

Titus 2:4 – Love your children. Honestly, if you love your children the way God intended for you to love your kids, the previous five guidelines will need much less work to fall into place.

The best thing you can give your kids for their 18th birthday is giving them all the above from this day forward.


By Timothy Johnson

Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Email: [email protected]. Website: www.preacherjohnson.com. E-book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TUJTV2A If you email, inform me where you have seen Preacher’s Point. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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