Aaaah… how beautiful! Proud parents and their gorgeous little duckling, on a pond near to our flat.
But there’s a story behind this little family. As we were leaving the pond we remarked to an older lady on how beatiful it was and how lovely to see the duckling. She lived close by and told us that there used to be at least five ducklings in this family, but all except one were killed by an unhappy male duck.
It was very sad to hear this. But it did make me think about our own family, the family of God, the Church. We know that our “enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).
Those most at risk of being attacked, and devoured, are the very young, baby Christians, those who have just put their trust in Jesus and are beginning on the huge adventure which is the Christian life.
But how good are we, the family of these young ones, at protecting, nurturing and helping them? Do we make sure they understand about assurance of salvation, how to start reading the Bible, how to pray and how to begin sharing their new-found faith with family and friends? Should they stumble or be discouraged or confused, are we right there to hold them up, encourage and strengthen them?
As they grow, are we ready to help them become firm disciples, understanding their relationship with God, the work of the Holy Spirit, what the Church is all about and more?
We wouldn’t leave anyone exposed and in the open, in danger from the roaring lion, would we?
I’m afraid that all too often we do. We’re glad when people take the step of giving their life to Jesus, then we frequently abandon them, to struggle on as best they can. And we wonder why the Church too often lacks mature, stable Christians, who understand the Bible and are steadfast in prayer, ready to take on responsibility and leadership!
Come on, family! Let’s look after our youngsters properly, helping them to become firmly established right at the beginning, then to grow as disciples, becoming mature. Disciples making disciples, this is the goal!
As this next photo (from a different pond) shows, ducks can get it together. So can we!