In a recent sermon from the book of 2 Corinthians we were discussing what happens to Christians after they die. I presented the possibility that we will recognize loved ones in Heaven. My personal conviction is based on the events recorded in Luke 16. It seems that the Rich Man recognized Abraham on the other side. “And he cried out and said, ‘Father, Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.” (Luke 16:24) In Matthew 8:11 Jesus said, “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Some have wondered if we know our loved ones in Heaven how can we be happy there if we know loved ones who are not there? We do know that in Heaven the Lord will “wipe away every tear” from our eyes (Revelation 21:4). We sometimes forget a couple of things about our Father in Heaven. One is that He loves every soul more than we ever can, and He has greater sorrow over those who are lost than we can ever have. The other is that our Father can do anything. While we cannot yet comprehend heaven without all of our loved ones, by faith we are convinced that God will take care of that. We also must remember that now we are thinking with our mortal minds, yet there will come a day that we will only think with a spiritual mind.
Now, back to that sermon. We were discussing our ability to recognize one another in Heaven. If that is true Heaven will be a place for the most wonderful family reunion ever held. In the course of the message we raised the question, “When you get to Heaven, who will be the person you will run to see first?”
One of my friends told me that he went to tuck his son into bed that night and his son (who is eight years old), asked, “So dad, who would you run to first?” WOW! The dad was commenting about how we never know how much our children are paying attention during a worship service. After hearing this from my friend I thought about some lessons we can all learn from this experience.
OUR CHILDREN HAVE A GREATER CAPACITY TO UNDERSTAND WORSHIP THAN MANY BELIEVE. We hear so much, that children just can’t understand what is going on when we worship. We hear that we need to do something (drama, movies, etc.) in worship instead of simply preaching the Word. There are many occasions when some parent tells me about a comment their child makes about the sermon.
OUR CHILDREN CAN THINK MORE DEEPLY THAN MANY BELIEVE. The question raised by this outstanding young boy speaks volumes. It just isn’t true that our Bible classes, sermons, etc. need to be shallow. The ability of our children to think deeply is dependent upon how and what we teach them.
The Bible is clear that God wants us to teach our children His Word. We learn this first from Deuteronomy 6:1-9. I would encourage every parent to prayerfully read and consider these words recorded so long ago. The Apostle Paul instructs us to bring our children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Paul later reminded Timothy how he had learned the Scriptures from the days of his childhood (2 Timothy 3:15). It is never too early to begin teaching our children the Word of God.
Dear Father, help us to realize that the greatest gift we can give our children is a love for Your Word. Help us to teach them the importance of worship, as well as the importance of knowing Your Word. Dear God, we pray that parents will spend the time necessary to raise children in Your discipline and Your instruction. We give You thanks for parents who are involved in teaching the Word to their children.