DayBreaks for 10/16/15: The One Who Stayed
From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:
Shel Silverstein wrote a poem called “The One Who Stayed.” The story in the poem is about a Pied Piper who came along and piped all the children away. His music was enchanting, and the kids followed him dancing, twirling and spinning happily on their way. That is, all the children except one followed the Piper. That one child went back home and stayed there. His dad was proud of the son for not following – for not listening to the Piper’s tantalizing music. But the son, deep in his heart, knew that he’d stayed behind for the wrong reason, and that for his entire life he would regret his decision:
“I cannot say I did not hear
That sound so haunting hollow –
I heard, I heard, I heard it clear…
I was afraid to follow.”
Perhaps the boy was simply afraid of leaving home. Perhaps he was afraid of leaving his parents. Maybe he was afraid to go because he didn’t know where the Piper would lead him, or what would happen to him when they arrived at their destination. Or, perhaps the boy had too much at home and he was reluctant to give up his video games, fast car, and fancy clothes for a life on the road with an itinerant Piper.
A similar message was extended long ago to a rich young ruler who decided to stay home, too. And we’re told that he went on his way sorrowful. We know why he stayed home, and I believe, like the boy in the story, that he regretted that decision for the rest of his life.
Today there are fathers who will applaud their child’s decision to stay home – to stay away from church, to ignore the calling of the Holy Spirit in the life of their children. “Oh, I’m proud of you for deciding for yourself what you want. Good for you.” I fear for those children – and for those parents – who don’t have enough common sense to encourage their children to go to church, to live the adventure for which God created them. For those parents who don’t do all that they can to help their children find their way to God – I tremble in fear for the questions they will face from God when they finally stand before His throne. What kind of message are you communicating to your children when you let them not go to church so that they can play sports every Sunday, or to stay home and watch movies or play video games? Aren’t you sending a message that says: “I’m proud of you for not going to church. Games and movies are much more important that listening to the call and command of God.”
Mom and dad: don’t think for a second that your children aren’t watching what you choose to do on Sunday, too. They watch – they see – and if your actions make it clear that everything else in the world is more important than worshipping God and being with His family – don’t be surprised when your child winds up with no faith, or if they listen to the wrong piper and wind up in broken marriages, jail and perhaps even hell.
PRAYER: Lord, being a parent is a huge responsibility. Help us realize that we will be held accountable not just for what we are doing ourselves, but for how we are molding and influencing our children! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>