“Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern…And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of a good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee, he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished…” 1 Chronicles 28:11 & 20
David wanted to build a temple for God; but in His wisdom, God chose to give his son, Solomon, the task. Instead of begrudging his son the honor, David immediately set out to make sure he would have everything he needed to complete the task God had given him. He saw to it that the young man had the tools, the finances, and the blueprint—the pattern—for his future service to God. And in laying down a pattern for Solomon, David has left a pattern for the rest of us.
The tools, money, workmen and other essentials would have been of little use without a pattern. And the same is true with the children God has given us. We can give them everything they need, humanly speaking, to live a meaningful life for God; but if they have not had the benefit of a workable pattern around which to structure their own, individual lives, their edifice will always be shaky. Give them a good education, by all means; but make sure their instruction Book for life is the infallible Word of the Living God. Teach them how to make and use money wisely, for sure; but make sure they also know money is a good servant but a poor master (Matt. 6:24).
But most important of all, give them a good pattern. And the pattern is not what you’ve taught them, but what they’ve seen. It’s not instruction; it’s inspection. Generally speaking, the Bible, the house of God, the pastor, and the people of God will be as important to them as they are to you; and God Himself will be as real to them as He is to you. There are exceptions to this, obviously. Some children develop a stronger, more devoted Christian life than their parents; and some young people choose to disregard their “goodly heritage” (Psl. 16:6). And that’s my final point.
The best pattern in the world won’t do you an ounce of good if you don’t follow it. A child can be given everything needed to build a godly, purposeful, satisfying life, but he or she must be the one to build it. David could do everything for Solomon but build the temple. He could encourage him (v. 20), but only Solomon could do the building. And as parents, after we have provided for our children as best we can, given them the spiritual tools they will need, and laid down a godly (not perfect) pattern before them, then…it’s up to them to build it. To try to step in later and repair all their mistakes and missteps is to belittle all that came before and usually ends in frustration or alienation.
Solomon did not begin to build until David, his father, died; and perhaps, spiritually speaking, that’s what some of us parents need to do. These are sobering words, I know; but I felt constrained to write them…for you and me