From the Parent Child Dedication service on December 13, 2015
“The father of a righteous son will rejoice greatly and one who fathers a wise son will delight in him. Let your father and mother have joy, and let her who gave birth to you rejoice. MY SON, GIVE ME YOUR HEART, AND LET YOUR EYES OBSERVE MY WAYS.” Proverbs 23: 24-26
Your child will first give you his or her heart. We see it time and time again in the nursery even here at church. A child separated from their mother or father is at times inconsolable over having a substitute caretaker. No one else will do. Or we see it during pick up times, when children begin to anticipate the appearance of their parents and they crowd the door or try and look beyond the gate, waiting for a glimpse of their beloved, the one who holds their heart. We see this as healthy though, this attachment and longing for a mother and father. It is MORE than good that they trust you and long to be with you.
Through your covenant today with your church family, you publicly state your intention to guide their heart toward an eternity with the Lord. For now, your hands are just a temporary resting place as you have the honor and privilege of guarding their little eyes, ears and innocence lest anything seek to steal or harm them.
Today, you come here to commit to care and treasure this little heart. As you lead and teach them, you begin the gentle transfer of their heart from you, to the Lord. You will encourage them through prayer and godly example, knowing that you are not the ultimate keeper of their heart, their longings or their fulfillment. For now, you are all they need, but that will not always be so. Your task is to create an environment and conditions that point their heart to the ONE who is Faithful to keep it, the Lord Jesus. This is your purpose as a parent. Not to keep their loyalty or their servitude into your old age…not to encourage their allegiance to you, no not ever toward you, but to the Lord.
This transfer of a heart from parent to the Lord will occur gradually as you teach them from the cradle to trust you. Because you are TRUSTWORTHY, they will grow to love the LORD with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their might. Because you take such good CARE of them, they will learn that GOD cares for them and will never leave them or forsake them. Because they LOOK UP to you and GAZE at you they will one day look up to their LORD AND SAVIOR. Because you SACRIFICE for them each and every day and you put them first, they will one day come to know and understand enough how GOD SACRIFICED and gave His one and only son, because He loves them so much.
And one day soon, you will be pleased to no longer be first in their heart.
So how do you do this? How do any of us do this? Our own hearts must be firmly lodged in God’s hands. This verse is not just for your children. No, God is speaking an eternal message to you also, dad and mom, friend, beloved, “Son, daughter, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways…”