Last week we looked at a very important life principle that is found throughout the Bible. Simply stated, it is: one harvests what one plants! This week I want to focus on a second life principle. This one is closely tied to the first one. It has real significance when it comes to how we educate future generations.
Life Principle #2: One can only give what one possesses!
If I were to call each of my three children and tell them that I am going give each of them $10,000 next Christmas, I believe each of them would chuckle. They would respond something like this. Sure dad. Even if I continued to emphatically say that I was going to do this, they wouldn’t believe it. Why? It is because they know that I don’t have $30,000 to my name. It is impossible to give what one doesn’t possess.
Even though every parent understands this principle, many parents, even Christian parents, try to live as if this truth doesn’t exist. To illustrate the fact that far too many Christians ignore this principle can be seen in looking at the average debt load most families have. The reason why so many Christians are in debt is because they continually give stuff to their children or to themselves when they don’t possess the money needed to purchase all of it.
In contrast to how we often live our lives believing that we can ignore this principle, God always operates in accordance with this life principle. He does this because He owns everything. Consider the following passages of Scripture.
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. Psalm 24:1
For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. Hebrews 3:4
For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof. 1 Corinthians 10:26
The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. Haggai 2:8
For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness. Psalm 50:10-12
O Lord, how manifold are Your works. In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions. Psalm 104:24
Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind? Job 12:9-10
There are many more verses that attest to the fact that God owns everything. Because He does, He can give anything and everything to whomever He wants to. God’s Word states that God gives:
- grace to the humble. James 4:6
- wisdom to those who ask. James 1:5
- every good and perfect gift to His children. James 1:17
- us a Spirit of power, love and sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
- us eternal life. John 3:16; 17:2
- authority to government and men. John 19:11; Romans 13:1
Since God owns and possesses all things, He can give to anyone He pleases whatever He wants to give them. This means that we can only give what we possess and we only possess what God sees fit to give us. When I understand this, it changes how I manage any and every thing that I might consider to be mine.
This principle has major implications to the education we give our children. God expects us to give our children and youth an education that is taught in the context of a biblical worldview. The education we give our children should first and foremost lead them to know God intimately.
Dr. George Barna shared some findings that he has found from major studies he has conducted over the past 3-4 years. Let me summarize what he has discovered as a result of this research.
Today’s Worldview Crisis
Barna explains how only 7% of adults over the age of 18 have a biblical worldview. He further found that when broken down by generation, only 4% (1 out of 25) millennials have a biblical worldview. Even when he looked at born again Christians, only 25% of them had a biblical worldview.
There are approximately 256 million adults in the US today. 179 million adults self-identified as Christians. However, only 90 million are churched. This further breaks down to 79 million adults who claim to have a biblical worldview. Yet, the study showed that only 18 million actually have a biblical worldview.
It is now known that a person’s worldview is basically formed from birth until 13 years of age. This means that by age 13 most young people have developed their basic moral and theological foundations, faith commitments and values and habits. The high school years are key times of testing and tweaking young people’s basic worldviews.
What implications do these findings have on the education our children are receiving? This is where this second life principle plays a significant role. Remember that one can only give what one possesses. Dr. Tony Evans explains this principle very clearly when he wrote,
Children have a very spiritual reason for their existence…[Parents] are to transfer a theo-centric, God-centered worldview; that’s why He said raise them in the Lord. Let the glasses they wear, we call that a worldview, a lens through which you view life, be constructed by the parents as they have gotten it from the Lord.
It is obvious that God expects us to give our children and youth a biblical worldview education. As a result of doing this, He wants future generations to be fully equipped so that they will think and act from a biblical worldview. Evans goes on to state a powerful truth.
But if parents haven’t gotten anything, they can’t give anything. We are to transfer to them [our children] what we have gotten from the Lord.
This profound statement is also true and applies to pastors, church leaders and Christian educators. We can only give what we possess!
Dr. Barna shares some sobering realities about today’s Christian adults. The impact of the home on a child’s worldview development is determined by the worldview held by a child’s parents. Barna found that the primary parenting generation (those who are parenting infants through 13-year olds) is the millennial generation. He found that 95% of these parents have a non-biblical worldview. This means only 5% of parents have a biblical worldview.
Barna also explains why the church does not have much of an impact on the worldview development of children and youth. A major study on church involvement of children ages birth to 18 found that the average child attends church only 1.4 times per month. One church that had 1231 registered children discovered that only 52 of them attended church 3 or more times per month. It must also be noted that only 5-7% of adults teaching children and youth have a biblical worldview.
The final determining factor in what worldview is being given to children and youth is the schooling a child receives. Here, Barna learned that 88% of children attend secular public schools and another 9% attend secular private schools. This means that only 3% of children, of the ages when worldview is being shaped, are enrolled in biblical worldview schooling.
We must also keep in mind that the millennial generation is also becoming the primary teaching generation in Christian schools. This means that only 5-7% of teachers in Christian schools most likely have a biblical worldview.
Applying these findings in an effort to see the impact of Christian schools on the education of children, we can make the following conclusion. Only 3% of children are in biblical worldview education but only 5-7% of teachers in these schools actually possess a biblical worldview. Remember, Life Principle #2 is always true. Parents, church leaders and educators can only give to students what they, themselves, possess.
This is why I am focusing all of my attention and energy on helping equip the next generation of parents, church leaders and educators with a biblical worldview and a biblical philosophy of education. I leave you with the words of Kyle Idleman in his book, gods at War. As you read this, realize that we must develop a biblical worldview so we can give it to the next generation. Idleman wrote:
It is time to choose a god and follow him. It is time to choose a worldview and let it remake you!