Every year The Bible Society of Ghana chooses a theme for the celebration of Bible week. During this week all churches focus on the theme and on the chosen scriptures to confirm that the Bible is indeed useful for “teaching… The week is also set aside to confirm the value of the Bible for everyday living. Last year’s theme was “The Bible and Our Civic Responsibility.”
This year’s theme is “Nurturing the Young Generation, The Bible Way”. It is our pleasure to bring you all the scriptures chosen to draw our attention to what the Bible says about how we can nurture the young generation using God’s Word and His principles for living Please let’s enjoy this article and allow it to impact our daily living.
‘It’s great to be young’ is a well-known adage that carries both positive and negative connotations. Positively, it affirms the vibrancy, excitement and adventure which young people experience in their heydays. But it also points to the inexperience that quite often characterizes the youthful phase of life. Whichever way we look at, one thing remains clear: the young generation needs to be guided and nurtured into maturity so that as responsible citizens, they can build on the foundations laid by the older generation. This calls for careful mentoring in order to help them realize their full potentials. The onus, therefore, lies on the adult community to instil positive values in their young ones, serving as their role models in both attitude and conduct. But the young generation must also respond in humility and obedience, allowing themselves to be shaped as well as transformed into a great nation- builders. The Bible places a high premium on the Young Generation. It offers numerous guidelines regarding how they should be nurtured. It lays particular emphasis on the role parents ought to play in helping to shape tomorrow’s leaders. It also affirms that God can choose young people to carry out important responsibilities in the family, community, nation and the wider world.
1. Bringing the young generation into being through procreation has been an integral part of God’s purpose since the beginning of human existence.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God, He created them; male and female He created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful an increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. – Genesis 1:26-28a
The young are a priceless legacy to every community and they are precious in God’s sight.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. – Psalm 127:3-5.
People were bringing little children for Jesus to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone, who will not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them. – Mark 10:13-16.
2. Every child is born into a particular family or community. Genealogies, Families and Communities are thus important identity markers for the young generation.
“This, then, is the family line of Perez:
Perez was the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
Boaz the father of Obed,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of David.” – Ruth 4:18-22 (See also Matthew 1:1-17)
3. Community involvement in child outdooring is a vital socialization process or i=rite of passage for our young ones.
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hands was with him. – Luke 1:57 -60 & 66.
4. Careful child weaning is an important nurturing ministry that should not be taken for granted.
Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. – Genesis 21:1-8.
When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfil his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.” “Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his[b] word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him. – 1 Samuel 1:21-23.
5. Parents/ Guardians and the older generation ought to provide a conducive environment for children to develop holistically.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on Him. Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. – Luke 2:29-40& 51-52.
1 Corinthians 13:11 This includes nurturing them in the Christian faith
“I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” – 2 Timothy 1:3-5. ( See also Proverbs 22:6).
Our young ones need to be nurtured and encouraged to constantly reconnect in a godly manner with their roots, culture or place of upbringing.
“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day, he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you today.” – Acts 22:3.
6. The family connections of Jesus, as visiting young prophet-teacher-evangelist, was well known in His Nazareth community.
Jesus left there and went to His hometown, accompanied by His disciples. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given Him? What are these remarkable miracles He is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at Him. – Mark 6:1-3
To be continued!
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