The Three Chairs Principle

by | Nov 26, 2012 | 2012, Musings | 0 comments

Experts are concerned that young children are suffering under the weight of the pressures of modern living. Earlier this year, the online newspaper “Mail” reported that, “driven into anxiety by the worries of their parents, the stressed out toddlers are having the best years of their lives blighted by the concerns that should only be handled by adults.”

The article went on to highlight the first kindergarten in Germany specifically designed for stressed out kids under five. At this school, massages, foot baths and simple acts of walking barefoot in the wet grass are designed to help these kids cope.

While I would be the first to recognize that the stress of modern living can have on affect on our kids, I think we are missing a more important reality. Stress isn’t the most prevailing problem for our children…our ability as parents to influence their spiritual condition is.

And those thoughts drove me to reconsider “The Three Chairs Principle” outlined in some of the Walk Thru the Old Testament Seminar material. David Wilkerson has used the sad description of the elders in Israel in Judges 2:7-10 to teach an important point: our kids are only a generation away from spiritual apostasy.

In that passage, the writer notes that the people of Israel served the Lord throughout the life time of Joshua, but just one generation later (their own children) did not know the Lord or even know about the stories of what God had done for Israel. How is that possible?

Wilkerson explains that the first generation (first chair) knows God, knows His works and loves peoples while using things. The second generation (sitting in the second chair) knows God, but not His works, loves things and uses people. And the third generation (third chair) does not know God or His works and uses people and things.

Folks sitting in the first chair have a whole heart for God. It is God first, me second. Those in the second chair have a half heart for God. It is me first, God second. And those in the third chair have no heart for God. It is me first, and me second too!

This week, those of us who influence children, our own or someone else’s, ought to spend some quality thinking about our spiritual influence over the next generation. Let’s make sure our own spiritual condition has us knowing and trusting the Lord. And then let’s focus on our influence and find ways to move those kids to the first chair. It’s just too easy for them to slide to the third…with or without stress.

By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel


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