Fred Craddock tells the story of a missionary family in China who was forced to leave the country sometime after the communists took over. One day, a band of soldiers knocked on the door and told this missionary, his wife, and his children that they had two hours to pack up before these troops would escort them to the train station. They would be permitted to take with them only two hundred pounds of stuff.

Thus began two hours of family wrangling and bickering about what they should take. What about this vase? It’s a family heirloom, so we’ve got to take the vase. Well, maybe so, but this typewriter is brand new, and we’re not about to leave that behind. What about some books? Got to take a few of them along. On and on it went, putting stuff on the bathroom scale and taking it off until finally, they had a pile of possessions that totaled two hundred pounds on the dot.

At the appointed hour, the soldiers returned. “Are you ready?” they asked. “Yes.” “Did you weigh your stuff?” “Yes, we did.” “Two hundred pounds?” “Yes, two hundred pounds on the dot.” “Did you weigh the kids?” “Um …. no.” “Weigh the kids!”

And in an instant, the vase, the typewriter, and the books all became trash. Trash! None of it meant anything compared to the surpassing value of the children.

Wow. What would you do? The answer is obvious. Our children mean the world to us. Everything else is trash. The value of our stuff goes way down when it comes to the value of our sons and daughters. God values you and your children’s souls above all earthly things.

Jesus said,

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”…Matthew 16:26

Do we value their souls that much? Do we value their souls enough to help them become disciplined with all the “trash” this world offers them?

It’s not enough to just take things away from your children or forbid them from doing certain things until a certain age. We must train them to lead self-disciplined lives before they leave our homes, or the devil is going to have a hay day with them.

Paul said to fathers,

“…bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord”Ephesians 6:4

Many parents are allowing their children to have access to media, friends, and entertainment, all the while working long hours, keeping everyone’s calendars full, and the 200 pounds of trash is adding up quickly. With all this trash, children are not sleeping well, thinking deeply, and being able to keep themselves busy while engaged in meaningful activities, and they are starving for God.

As we raise our children to be healthy, Christ-like adults who are in love with Jesus, here are some things to make sure are in place in your home when it comes to protecting the value of your child’s soul:

  • Make sure your home is a place where God lives. Everything centers around God and His son, Jesus.

  • Never allow children to set boundaries in your home. That is the very work God gave us as godly parents, and we do not let our young children have a say in what the boundaries are in this home.

  • Wait until the later teenage years before allowing your child to possess a smartphone. (Yes, I understand they will stand out among their peers….but that is what holiness is all about.) Since most adults cannot handle the overwhelming temptations that come with having a smartphone, why do we think children can handle it?

  • Limit media for everyone. Consistently set time boundaries for your computers, tablets, phones, and televisions. All media activities should be done in the open area of the living room or kitchen – no devices in bedrooms (we must not give the devil a free pass). Also, make sure you have plenty of unannounced media fasts (days, weeks, months) for the whole family. This will help ensures that no one is entangling their hearts around an idol. Trust me, it will pay off.

  • Birthday parties/slumber party sleepovers should be a thing of the past. There are too many risks in allowing your child to stay the night in someone else’s home that does not value your child’s soul as you do.

  • Make sure there is plenty of downtime in your home for your child to become bored. You are living in a world that promotes constant brain stimulation. This is unhealthy, to say the least. Your child’s brain is not made for constant video games, social media, and video stimulation. They need to use their brains to be creative, play, pretend, read, and overcome boredom. You will experience a happy child if you take this to heart.

  • Keep your marriage strong and parent from the marriage. Your child will gain security and blessings from seeing a marriage that honors the Lord. They need to see a dad and mom who are like-minded in their parenting methods.

  • Let your “yes” be “yes” and “no” be “no.” Your child needs to see parents who communicate in a clear way and who never go back on their word.

These are just a few critical things we can do to make sure we are valuing our children’s souls over the trash of this world. I know you love your sons and daughters, and if you will do the hard things while they are young, you will delight in them when they are older.

Steve Minor
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Steve was born in Hollis, OK.  Steve graduated from Oklahoma Christian with a degree in Youth Ministry in 1998.  OC is where Steve met the love of his life, Stephani Jimenez, and married in 1996.  The Lord gave them three amazing children: Micah (husband, Joel Turner), Mason, and Makenna.

Steve & Stephani have worked for congregations in Texas and Oklahoma.  Steve is the founder and director of Legacy Family Camp each October to equip and strengthen families and the MIGHTY Men’s Mentoring Conference each January to train and strengthen men to be leaders.

Steve is the preaching minister for the Wylie Church of Christ in Wylie, Texas.