Be Still Know
Luke 1:16 NLT
‘And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.’
I was given the challenging honour of establishing Spring Harvest in 1978. Our first event was scheduled for Easter 1979 at Pontins in Prestatyn, North Wales. We had little idea about organising a large national event, and we had no knowledge of how many might come. Eventually around 2,800 churchgoers booked in. I was the sole administrator and stretched to the limit, given the need to respond to every enquirer and negotiate and set up the site.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were taken totally unawares by the angel’s declaration. Their child had a name before they had conceived him, and a commission for them to supervise. It was a great mandate, turning Israel to repentance in preparation for the ministry of his relative, Jesus.
In my early days with Youth for Christ, I remember how shocked I was at the first church mission I engaged with when certain parents approached me and warned me off motivating their child to Christian service. “They need a steady and secure job, not to go off preaching the gospel around the world” was typically what I was told. Having recently become a Christian from a completely non-believing background, I was surprised that these Christian parents didn’t long to see their offspring called into missions.
As we read of John’s calling and then recall the price he paid for his faithfulness, I begin to appreciate that these parents were expressing their loving concern. They feared that too serious a devotion early in life might leave their child vulnerable in later life. Perhaps their own initial passion for the gospel had been dimmed through the experience of living in an uncompromising world, and they anticipated similar doubts and disappointments would return to haunt their kids.
All credit to Zechariah and Elizabeth for saying “yes” to God, both for the child they had longed for but had never expected, and more so for ensuring John knew of his calling, and then carefully nurturing it as faithful parents. Without that level of parenting, John may have ended up as an accountant or a solicitor rather than the wild wilderness prophet that was his destiny! What’s more, Jesus’ own destiny was directly linked to John’s faithfulness. What a responsibility.
QUESTION: If you are a parent, do you worry about your children?
PRAYER: Lord, give me faith to trust you with the future of my family.