At the end of his life, Jacob, the brother of Nephi, turns over the Nephite records to his son, Enos. Enos would only add one chapter of information to the record, but that one chapter does contain the account of his conversion. While in the forest, Enos prayed mightily and heard the voice of the Lord say, “Thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed” (verse 4). At that point, any guilt he felt was swept away, and he was fully converted to a faith in Christ.
But let’s back up a little bit in the story. Prior to praying mightily, what was Enos thinking about? According to verse 3, he was thinking back on the words that he had often heard his father speak concerning eternal life and the joy of the saints, and these words sunk deep into his heart. This caused his soul to hunger for the same blessings in his life, and he went on to establish his own relationship with God.
Now, if you have children — or if there are children in your life whom you influence — think of that child as an adult, and put them in the place of Enos … alone one day, thinking back over what he remembers from his childhood years or perhaps things he’s hearing or experiencing right now. Will these memories inspire him to pray mightily to God for his salvation? Will he, at that time, hunger to have the type of relationship with God that he’s witnessed you have?
The memories of 1,000 Sundays spent with us — will they include family discussions about the message of salvation that was given at church? Or will the conversations about church that they recall be more about who was wearing what or who said or did something that was annoying?
When they think back on problems that arose, will they have memories of us falling to our knees to look to God for help? Or will they remember us dealing with these situations in the same way anyone who doesn’t know the Lord does?
Will our future adult children know firsthand what the joy of the saints means? Will they recall an excitement about getting together with the saints at church to share the joy of salvation? Or will they remember church as a place we went because we felt obligated to be there? Or as an opportunity we often skipped in favor of doing other things?
Will their memories of the brothers and sisters be reverent, remembering them as saints of God? Or will they be happy to have reached the age when they no longer have to feel obligated to deal with them as we appear to feel obligated to do?
How will what our children remember influence the choices they make relative to God and the church when they are adults? If we feel confident that they are witnessing a spirit-filled joyful life from a person they look up to (you) that they will desire when they are adults, then thank God for that and keep doing what you’re doing.
If, on the other hand, we realize that we may be — perhaps inadvertently — portraying the life of a servant of God in a way that is not the most positive, then now is the time to make the necessary adjustments. As the saying goes, “They grow up fast.” Let’s do what we can now to help build the future church by exhibiting the joy of salvation and the joy of the saints even in our own homes. Let that be what our children remember.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.