Is Your Child Using His Time Wisely?
‘WHAT an “ungodly” thing for children to do!’ What? Were they stealing something, or reveling in some kind of vandalism? No! They were going from house to house talking to people about the Bible. But surely no one would say that using time for that is “ungodly”? Well, perhaps you would not say so, but then you would have to disagree with Raymond Wilcox, vicar of the Church of England, Bentley, Walsall, Staffordshire, England.
His objection to “Bible-quoting children” of Jehovah’s witnesses as being “ungodly” because they join with their parents in house-to-house religious activity was published in The Sunday Express, London, April 26, 1964. The vicar of Garrett’s Green, Birmingham, England, Peter Hayward, was quoted in the same article as having similar views.
Speaking of the twelve-year-old who called at his door, Hayward complained: “She recited passages from the Bible like a lesson at school. It was quite obvious that she did not understand what she was saying.” Had he questioned the youngster instead of becoming irritated, he might have been surprised at her answers. In the Theocratic Ministry School operated in all congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses, youths are taught to do research on a wide variety of subjects. From the platform boys give sermons that they have prepared themselves. Girls do similar research and give sermons to another person while the rest of the congregation watch and listen. So, when this young lady spoke to the vicar, why did he not commend her for being able to recite passages from the Scriptures? Does the Church of England not approve of children doing this?
The memorizing and reciting of Scripture in public by children is not new. Matthew chapter 21 tells us that after Jesus cast the money changers out of the temple “the boys . . . were crying out in the temple,” quoting from Psalm 118 and saying, “Save, we pray, the Son of David!” The only ones who objected to this were the chief priests and scribes, whom Jesus condemned. Rebuking these religious leaders and showing the propriety of children using their time and mouths to praise God, Jesus explained: “Did you never read this, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have furnished praise’?” But apparently these spokesmen of the Church of England do not view this matter in the way Jesus Christ did.—Matt. 21:15, 16.
Taking the view that religious house-to-house activity is not a wise use of time, and appearing to be concerned about the safety of the children doing so, Wilcox is quoted as saying: “Not only is it an ungodly thing to do but the children are in danger.” Had he checked into this by looking along the street, he no doubt would have seen adult Witnesses just a few doors away. In fact, The Sunday Express interviewed a minister of Jehovah’s witnesses about this and was informed: “The children have strict instructions not to enter a house without a grown-up member of the organisation and there is always an adult a few doors away they can call on if there is any trouble.” When we consider the ungodly use of time by many youths and recall the shameful acts of vandalism, such as caused when 600 youths, with too much time on their hands, descended on Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England, during the Easter holidays this year, is it not strange that clergymen should want to discourage children from using their time for religious activities? No wonder that church attendance is at such a low ebb in England.
Children, with their simplicity of speech and their sincerity, have moved adults to action. There is the case of a man of great prominence who acted on the words of a child with much benefit. He was Naaman, army chief of the king of Syria, and a leper. It appears that there was a captive from the land of Israel, “a little girl, and she came to be before Naaman’s wife. In time she said to her mistress: ‘If only my Lord were before the prophet that is in Samaria! In that case he would recover him from his leprosy.’” Naaman was recovered, thanks to being humble enough to act on the words of a little girl.—2 Ki. 5:2, 3.
A child’s message can also be a warning or a judgment message from God. Such a message was delivered by the young boy Samuel to the priest Eli. God told Samuel: “Look! I am doing something in Israel which if anyone hears about, both his ears will tingle.” What would modern clergymen think of a child being used to deliver such an ear-tingling message? Eli responded, “It is Jehovah. What is good in his eyes let him do.” (1 Sam. 3:11-18) To the message brought to him by a child, Vicar Hayward is quoted as saying: “She was trying to tell me that the time was near when God will destroy all wicked people on earth. What a terrible thing to teach a child!” Yet it was no one less than Jesus Christ who taught that the wicked would be destroyed. After relating how the Flood destroyed the wicked people in Noah’s day, and how “it rained fire and sulphur from heaven” on the wicked people of ancient Sodom, he added: “The same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed.”—Luke 17:26-30.
All the evidence from Bible prophecy indicates that this is the time about which Jesus spoke. It behooves parents and children, therefore, to use their time in a way that will merit favor from God and not destruction. It would be well to follow the advice of the apostle Paul, who counseled: “So keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked.” (Eph. 5:15-17) Even though the churches condemn children who show love for their neighbors by going from house to house disseminating information from the Bible, God approves of what they are doing. His written word, at Psalm 148:7, 12, 13, encourages us: “Praise Jehovah . . . you young men and also you virgins, you old men together with boys. Let them praise the name of Jehovah.” If you are doing this and aiding your family to do the same thing, you can feel assured that your child is using his time wisely.