Dear Preacher’s Kids …

“Now, it came to pass that when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. … But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes and perverted justice” (I Samuel 8:1-3).

Let’s talk about the offspring of the Lord’s shepherd, those sweet little lambs birthed into his beloved family in order to enrich their lives, to bless the church and to provide a fresh palette on which the preacher and his lady can demonstrate all it means to grow up in the fear and nurture of the Lord.

Those little monsters who terrorize the congregation with their out-of-control behavior.

Those darling babies and toddlers who are smothered by the loving attention of the entire congregation, and for whom teenage girls compete as babysitters.

Those juvenile delinquents who run up and down the aisles of the church and treat the sacred buildings as their own personal playroom.

Those teenagers who look so angelic on Sunday and test their parents’ patience during the week, the subject of ten thousand stories in deacons’ homes, who exasperate the seniors in the church hoping for a little peace and quiet this Sunday.

They put the gray hairs in their preacher-dad’s head and the great stories into his sermons. They put the the lines in their mom’s brow and the thrill into her heart.

They occupy the major portion of their parents’ prayers day and night.

God bless ’em. We love our PKs. Our preachers’ kids.

As Paul said, “And such were some of you” (I Corinthians 6:11).

So, you know.

Biblically, PKs didn’t do so well.

Scripture mentions very few PKs (“prophets’ kids”?) who turned out well. I can’t think of any who succeeded their fathers in the ministry. (Franklin Graham and Donnie Swaggart, take note.)

When the toddler Samuel was growing up in the tabernacle, the sons of High Priest Eli were breaking his heart. “Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord” (I Samuel 2:12). Those with the stomach for this sort of thing can read for yourself what they were doing in that chapter. “Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord” (2:17).

Eli is not spared his share of the blame for their actions, for the Lord said the high priest was honoring “your sons more than Me” (2:29).

Eli’s sons met an untimely death and brought great sorrow to Israel for generations.

Think of David’s children, particularly Amnon, Absalom and Solomon. Not exactly role models. Then again, with his multiple wives and concubines, David’s home life was not exactly conducive to rearing godly offspring.

As for the Old Testament prophets, we are not given enough information on their children to make any generalizations or draw conclusions. Same with the apostles.

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Joe McKeever
Joe McKeever has been a believer over 60 years, has been preaching the Gospel over 50 years, and has been writing and cartooning for Christian Publications over 40 years. He lives in New Orleans.