The Bible often emphasizes the importance of families teaching faith to the next generation. The apostle Paul says this to his beloved disciple Timothy—“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 Tim.1:5). Prov.22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Years ago a study of two very different families gave evidence to the fact that how children are brought up can have a profound impact on how their lives turn out.
Max Jukes lived in New York. He did not believe in Christ or in Christian training. He refused to take his children to church, even when they asked to go. Jukes had 1,026 descendants. 300 were sent to prison for an average of 13 years. 190 were prostitutes. 680 were alcoholics. His family cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years and made no significant contributions to society.
Compare that family legacy with the family of Jonathan Edwards, who lived in the same state at about the same time as Jukes. Edwards loved the Lord and served Christ to the best of his ability. He saw that his children were in church every Sunday. Edwards had 929 descendants, and of these 430 were ministers, 86 became university professors, 13 became university presidents, 75 became authors, 7 were elected to the United States Congress and one became vice president of the United States. Edward’s family never cost the taxpayers any money and have contributed immeasurably to society.
The study of these two families highlights the importance of teaching faith in our families. The devil knows this, so he is working overtime to try to destroy the family as God designed it, and our culture is beginning to see the tragic results of his efforts.
Families that pass along the faith tend to prosper in numerous ways, and they have a tremendous positive impact on the world around them. With so much at stake, let’s make a concerted effort to teach the faith to the next generation.