November 11th marked the 399th anniversary of the signing of the Mayflower Compact. In the words of History.com, the Mayflower Compact was “the first document to establish self-government in the New World.”
Do you think the Pilgrims knew how significant that moment was? Of course not. Fully appreciating that moment would have been impossible for them because they didn’t know what the future held. How could they have known they were creating the first document of self-government in what would become a centuries-long tradition?
Whether they felt particularly noble or significant as they wrote and signed the Compact, I don’t know. Perhaps they did, or perhaps they didn’t. Perhaps they were simply meeting the need of the moment. They could envision chaos if they didn’t take the necessary steps to prevent it, so they took action. They didn’t have the benefit of hindsight to see the significance of their actions and the place they were filling in history.
Could it be that some of us are filling a similar place in history without realizing it?
We live in a moment of great change in our culture. For those of us who call ourselves Bible-believing Christians, many of the changes are concerning and troubling. As a father of young children, I feel some trepidation when I consider the kind of world my children are growing up in. What challenges—even persecutions—might they face in their lifetimes?
The truth is, I don’t know. But what I do know is that our culture desperately needs parents who are willing to do what it takes to raise the next generation of Christ-followers. And that’s what I meant when I asked a moment ago if some of us are filling a radically important place in history without realizing it.
If our nation is to have a voice of truth in the future, someone needs to raise the children who can grow up to be those voices. Someone needs to teach, train, disciple, and equip those voices. If we fail to do so, I fear the future of our country will be even darker than it is now.
Just as the Pilgrims saw necessity, so do we. We see trouble on the horizon if we fail to meet this desperate need of the moment.
Also like the Pilgrims, our efforts may not feel particularly historic or heroic in the moment. We are, after all, just doing what needs to be done, often in the most mundane and ordinary of ways.
But also like the Pilgrims, our efforts may very well reverberate down through history. None of us as parents knows what our children will become. Could one of my children—or yours—be the next great evangelist who wins thousands to Christ? Or the William Wilberforce of our age who leads the fight to finally rid our nation of a great moral evil? Or a business titan who donates vast sums to the cause of Christ? Any of these are possible. I don’t know what my kids will become, and neither do you. Someone is raising the next generation of leaders and truth-tellers. Why not you and me?
And the fact is, even if my children don’t grow up to change the world on their own, our nation desperately needs an army of young people who grow up to be the godly, decent, ordinary, hardworking foot soldiers for the cause of Christ scattered throughout neighborhoods, factories, offices, and communities all across America.
The Mayflower Compact begins with the stirring words, “In the name of God, Amen.” Establishing a government was a good and godly task. It could be done in the name of God.
And so lastly, like the Pilgrims, raising our children to be the godly leaders and citizens of tomorrow is an endeavor we can undertake “in the name of God.” This is holy work. It’s vital work. It’s God-mandated and God-blessed work.
Let’s apply ourselves to this work with diligence. I know we won’t be perfect. We’ll fail at times. But with God’s help, let’s strive to raise a generation of young people who can go into the future prepared and equipped to be leaders, truth-tellers, and most of all, Christ-followers in a culture that has lost its way.
In the name of God, Amen.
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