Carlos Johnson: A Letter to my Kids
Published on March 21, 2009
Deuteronomy 32:46-47 “and he said to them: Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe-all the words of this law. For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.”
This is your life. Let that sink in for a second. Say it again, except slowly this time. This is your life. You’re probably thinking. “Okay? This is my life. So what?” Allow me to explain what I mean by this. I am writing this to a diverse community of different generations, races, and doctrinal stances (Calvinists, Arminian). Although this fallen world we live in saddens me more by the minute, most of you, in my opinion, are at the very best times of your life. Besides those common bonds, you all have dealt with various struggles in life. Some more difficult to bear than others. But by God’s grace, each of you has survived, and prayerfully, you have learned from your experience. But despite all that, your journey in life still has many miles to go. There is still plenty of road ahead.
In the passage above Moses is “preaching” his final sermon to the Israelites, before he dies. He tells them that all the commands that have been laid out to them are not impossible to keep. He tells them that the words of this book are “your life.” These same words spoken by Moses, I speak to you through this letter. As you continue to grow in life, you will experience lot’s of good and bad times. During those seasons of good, you will share with family and friends, and laughter and tears will be in abundance. During the seasons of pain and discomfort, you will share with those closest to you, and tears will fall in abundance. In both seasons, scripture should be at the forefront of your life.
The Bible is more than just a set of rules you follow in hopes of getting to heaven. It is more than an answer book to life’s questions. It is more than just a neat story about God and His son Jesus. At a point when disciples were leaving Jesus after one of his controversial statements (John 6:32-59) he turned to the twelve disciples and asked if they would leave him as well. Peter replied “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) We find life in the scriptures. Our very life should be the word of God. As believers, our attitude should be like Job. He deemed God’s word more important than his daily nourishment! (Job 23:12)We should treasure scripture because these are God’s words. (2 Timothy 3:16) His words are perfect and pure with no lies or inconsistency. (Psalms 12:6, Psalms 19:7) God’s word also correct us, trains us in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and gives us hope and comfort in times of pain. (Psalms 119:49-50) 2nd Peter 1:3 says that God has “given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence…” Scripture provides you with an opportunity to know your God, and his standards for living on his earth. How can we say we are truly say we are Christian, or love God, and we never take the time to find out who he is or what he requires of us?
Finally, I want to leave this story (shout out to Paul Washer!) to those who have a hard time reading the bible and feel that it’s pointless to read something you don’t understand. There was a small boy who went to spend the summer with his grandfather on the farm. His grandfather was a God fearing man and made his grandson rise early every morning and read scripture, sometimes for hours at a time. One day the boy turned to his grandpa and said “grandpa there’s no point in me reading the Bible. It’s useless.” His grandpa looked at him strangely and simply asked, “Why?” The boy replied, “Well no sooner than I read it, I forget it as soon as I put it down. It’s useless!” His grandpa sat for a short moment before saying, “That’s a problem.” He suddenly turned picked up an old coal bucket. It had been used repeatedly without cleansing, and had become very dirty. He handed the bucket to his grandson and asked him to take it down to the creek and fill it with water. He did as his grandfather asked, but by the time he made it back to his grandfather all the water had leaked out of the bucket! After two more trips yielded the same result, he returned to his grandfather and said, “Grandpa it’s no use! The water won’t stay in the bucket because it’s got holes in it.” His grandfather smiled and said, yes that’s true. But look at the inside of the bucket.” The bucket was now clean. When you sit down to read the Bible, you may not always understand or remember what you just read. But as you continually read and pray God will begin to give you an understanding of His word. And day by day, you will begin to see a transformation that can only be brought about by God, and his life-giving word.
Father, I thank you for this day that you have made. I thank you for your word. I pray that you give us a better understanding of your word. I pray that we find life in your word, and hide it in our hearts, so that we might not sin against you. (Psalms 119:11) I pray that we come to understand how deeply important and how precious scripture is. Let it become our life. Let nothing in this life take a higher priority than scripture. Not friends, family, TV, internet, video games, even our meals. Father, help us to learn more about you. And as we learn more about you, I pray that by your Spirit, we remove those things in us that displease you, and help us to be more like your Son Jesus. Father I look forward to your coming, and I pray your kingdom come, and your will be done. In your Son Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Written by: Carlos Johnson