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The conversation of a Ugandan boy of 11 with an 11-year-old from the U.S. puts childhood into proper perspective. The Ugandan boy, an orphan, has been touched by the powerful revival which has been happening in his country for several years now. After meeting the young boy from the U.S., the Ugandan child asked him, “What are you going to do in life?” This was not a question of childhood play. He was completely serious. The other child was amazed and asked how was he supposed to know what he would do in life—he was only a child! The boy from Uganda replied, “You’re eleven years old and you don’t yet know what you’re supposed to be in life?!” He really was amazed. You see the Ugandan child has been under the influence of a move of God’s Spirit in his nation that has had a profound impact on his country. Unlike the boy from the West, he has been taught that life is not about him and his pleasure; but rather it’s about the plan of God for him. He’s planning and is now taking steps to become what God has created him to be.
Before you dismiss this as just a child’s aspirations, or perhaps as the result of over-zealous parents and teachers who have “crammed” the Bible down his throat, you better consider history. It is a fact of history recorded in the Bible that God wants children to know His plan for their life; and to prepare early for that plan.
God used the child Samuel to minister to the priest Eli. His mother had left him with Eli as soon as he was weaned. He grew up knowing he was to minister to the nation of Israel as a prophet and a priest. He even – while still a child – delivered strong prophetic messages. (1 Samuel 3:1-21)
David was but a boy, perhaps only ten years of age or so, when he went into the fields to watch his father’s sheep. He would face both a lion and a bear during that time, and would kill them both! He learned, as a child, to trust God completely. (1 Samuel 17:32-37)
Daniel and his friends were probably young teenagers when they were carried off to Babylon, and then picked to be trained for the king’s service. They would courageously refuse the king’s commands that disagreed with the Scripture, and would change the course of a nation because of their boldness when young. (Daniel 1:1-21 & 3:1-30)
Because of the Biblical understanding of early Americans, their children accepted responsibility much earlier in life that our children now. Our sixth President, John Quincy Adams, at age 14 was ambassador to Catherine the Great, the queen of Russia in the late 1700s.
Fisher Ames, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, entered Harvard when he was twelve. And that was when you had to be able to read Latin, Hebrew, and Greek to get into Harvard! (Education and the Founding Fathers, David Barton, Wallbuilders Press, Aledo, TX, 1993, p.21)
Another Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush, would later be the Surgeon General for George Washington’s Continental Army. He graduated from Princeton at age 14! (Ibid., p. 21)
Likewise, Daniel Boone, as a 10-year-old boy in the 1740s, went 10 miles from home and stayed with his father’s cattle on an additional farm his father owned. He would be mostly alone during this time, but God used it to prepare him to be the primary woodsman that would open the way to America’s western wilderness.
Are we preparing our children to be used by God, depending on Him alone to be their Source? Or are we preparing them to live for themselves, which will lead them to depend on government to be their source.
Think about it; because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you—
and for your children! And you won’t like what that brings to you. I’m Don Pinson, this has been Think About It.