As I write to you this month, I am in South-Central Idaho. We come here every year to minister in some churches that are in small towns having Vacation Bible School in the mornings and worship services under a tent in the evenings. These areas are mostly unchurched, meaning a very small percentage of people EVER go to ANY kind of church. Mostly rural in nature, the towns are small and the people are tough pioneer type people. The gospel is desperately needed here but it is hard to reach people with it. We have had some success over the years but it is gradual and mostly because of consistency…in other words…being here year after year, over and over again.
Consistency! Which brings me to what I would like to share with you today. I know I’ve spoken to you about Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”, but I can’t help but dig a little deeper today. It is Father’s day as I write this and I want to delve into what it really means to “train up” a child. Several years ago, we adopted a little boy from Brazil. He was a street child and had grown up feral, for lack of a better term. He wasn’t raised, he just grew up, on his own, on the street. To make a long story short, it has been a trial. He has been in and out of our lives for now over 20 years. In and out of trouble for that entire time. At this moment, I have no idea where he is or how he is doing. Like so many times before, he has virtually disappeared from the face of the earth. Our daughters are fine. They are godly women and live a devoted Christian life. We were able to “train” them in the way God says in His word. But our son, not so much. So much was “trained” into him before he came to us. We are not perfect parents, that’s not my point. But the point is the “training”. In horses, dogs, and yes, even our children, if you don’t train them to do the right things, you are training them to do the wrong things.
There is a tradition among horseman that goes back centuries but has had a rebirth in recent years. You take a young horse and start him in a hackamore or bosal around his nose with reins tied around called a Mecate and over years train him to react properly to your commands to move in what is called “collection”. After a while a bit is added along with the bosal and two reins. One attached to the bit and one to the bosal. This is called the two-rein stage. Slowly he learns to carry the bit and over time you use less of the rein from the bosal and more of the rein from the bit until the bosal is removed and only the bit is used. At this point the horse is called, “straight up in the bridle” or “finished”. The true translation of the Hebrew words that become “train up” means “to touch the pallet”. The spade in the mouth-piece of the bit, with a light touch of a true horseman touches the pallet and gives to horse the command to carry his head right, therefore to be collected, so he can move properly. If it all goes exactly as it is supposed to, it still takes years. That’s what it means to train up a child. You don’t just take him to church or pray over meals, you train them. Until they are “finished”. Finished the way God says! Not the way the world says. The problem is, just like horses in this world, we have too many feral kids and not enough that are “trained up”. Today and every day, train up your child in the way he should go, God’s way, so when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Thanks for reading,