Daily Devotional May 25, 2023

“Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6, CEB)

     In 2005, a German long jumper named Bianca Kappler competed at the European Indoor Championships. During the competition, Bianca created quite a stir within the sport of track and field. Initially, Bianca was awarded the gold medal for jumping a record 22 feet, 10 inches. The next closest competitor came in at only 21 feet, 11 inches. But Bianca Kappler stunned the sporting world when she refused the gold medal. Instead, Bianca declined first place because she concluded that she could never jump as far as she was judged. She was convinced that her jump was measured incorrectly. Video analysis confirmed the mismeasurement and the jump was ruled invalid. Kappler was later awarded a bronze medal for fair play.

     So, where did Bianca Kappler develop that kind of character? Frankly, I don’t know the answer, except that at some point in Bianca’s life, someone impressed upon her conscience the value of honesty. In a world that teaches people to win at all costs, Bianca Kappler chose something more valuable than gold, all because one or more persons laid forth a foundation of upstanding character and integrity.

     The writer of Proverbs 22:6 made the claim that it is incumbent on parents, teachers, and the community of faith to “Train children in the way they should go” (and no, this is not a reference to potty training). Sadly, many have concluded that this endeavor should be the singular responsibility of the parents. And, by and large, it should.

     The problem is that only 40% of all professing Christian adults today actively practice their faith. According to Christian author, George Barna, less than 10% of all Christians possess what he calls an authentic biblical. Therefore, only one in every five households actually has the knowledge to model and build up their children with the lessons of faith.

     For this reason, the church is the backstop for instilling the core principles of Christ into the minds and hearts of today’s youngest generations. When parents become unwilling to introduce their children to Sunday School, other members of the family can ask for the privilege of doing so. Those with educational backgrounds and experience are uniquely equipped to teach our young people about the ways they should go.

     The African proverb claims that it takes a village to raise a child. Personally, I believe it takes the wholehearted commitment from the entire faith community. Future generations are counting on us.