Lisa and I spent the weekend “playing in the dirt again”, plowing up a small plot on our property and planting fruits, vegetables and flowers. I still have dirt under my fingernails. My wife loves doing this in the early spring, and though I’m not much into gardening, I enjoy the time spent with her, on something she loves. It’s hard work, running the tiller through the soil, pulling up rocks, hacking through roots, and yanking out weeds. But then Lisa organizes the plot, allocating different sections to various types of plantings. Hopefully, over the next several months, as we tend the garden, we’ll be rewarded with a bountiful harvest.
I’m reminded of the many times Jesus used farming analogies in His parables. There are so many parallels to life, to following God, and to training children in the Word. I think about my years in children’s ministry, as well as raising our own two daughters. From the earliest years, our goal has been to plant God’s Word in the hearts and minds of children, our own and those we taught in churches. Proverbs 22:6 teaches us to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” I believe if we are intentional about instructing children in God’s Word and ways, and backing it up by living ourselves what we teach, our children may wander and make their own mistakes (like in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son), but sooner or later, they will “boomerang” back around to the truth that was planted in their young lives.
Our job is to follow the model presented in Scripture, found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Teach our children at every possible opportunity, making the most of every teachable moment. And model in our own lives, what we want them to become in theirs. That combination will bring a harvest of godliness in the next generation.