Susannah Wesley bore 19 children, 10 of whom died before age two. But two of those who did survive were used of God to shake a nation. John and Charles Wesley preached the gospel, wrote hymns, and established a renewed faith for the land of Great Britain that spread globally.
Susannah has been remembered as one of the great mothers in history. Read just a few of her thoughts on raising children:
- Allow no eating between meals.
- Teach each child to pray as soon as they can speak.
- Require all children to be quiet during family worship.
- Give a child nothing that they cry for, and only that which they ask for politely.
- To prevent lying, punish no fault that is first confessed and repented of.
- Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
- Never punish a child twice for a single offense.
- Commend and reward good behavior.
- Commend any attempt to please, even if poorly performed.
- Strictly observe all promises.
- Require no daughter to work before she can read well.
- Teach children to fear the rod.
Susannah never had a high political office, nor did she earn great degrees or titles. We must remember that the most important people have the shortest of titles: Mom. Dad. Son. Daughter. Pastor.
I love Southeastern for a lot of reasons, but the one that marks our school we do not talk a lot about relates to the value of family: the family of God in the local church, our seminary family, and the nuclear family.
We know that the family is under assault today. The best way to defend the family is to demonstrate the gospel’s effect on families of believers. Such families realize our wretchedness and great need of daily grace, and prioritize the gospel and the mission of God for the people of God to the nations for the glory of God. We who follow Christ do not always demonstrate a moral superiority over all others, but we are aware of divine grace. And a divine calling.
Here are just a few examples of our faculty who demonstrate the gospel in their homes:
Steve McKinion and his wife Ginger have shown the work of God’s grace in their journey with Harrison in his valiant battle against cancer, encouraged by his siblings Lachlan and Blakely;
President Akin and wife Charlotte have raised four godly young men who serve the Lord in ministry;
George and Catherine Robinson have taken their whole family (3 kids) on a mission trip to Asia;
Tony and Kim Merida have famously championed adoption by their words and by their example with five children of their own they chose to adopt.
Tomorrow I will walk our beautiful daughter Hannah down the aisle in Binkley Chapel where she will take the hand of a fine young man named Corey – whom she met while traveling with me in ministry — who will be her husband. Four weeks later our son Josh will marry a precious young lady named Jacqueline – a pastor’s daughter and a student in our college – in the same chapel. Michelle and I have been blessed with children after we thought for a season we would never have any. And now they begin their own families, with Jesus at the center.
Makes me think of the wonderful hymn penned by Charles Wesley days after his conversion:
Amazing love, how can it be
That Thou my God would die for me!
We deserve nothing but God’s wrath, but in His great mercy He has given us eternal life by faith. And He has given us family. Blessed be the name of the Lord.