Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.~1 Corinthians 3:8, NASB
I love seeds. They are so full of potential life! I have planted many, many seeds through the years. Then replanted. Then replanted again. Finally, I learned what a particular type of seed needed to grow and then gave it to them. Voila’. Flowers.
There is a work of preparing the soil, which looks nothing like seed planting, but trust me, if the soil is not well prepared for the seeds, the time is wasted in seed planting. I have found the work of soil preparation to take up much more time and be a lot more difficult than seed planting.
It is no different in our lives. One of the most challenging, time consuming, and vital ways to prepare the soil of our children’s hearts to receive the seed of God’s word is to let them see us living out God’s will. Live what we believe. Do what we preach. Let them see that living in God’s will is fun, enjoyable, the best way to live! They need to see us making our own quiet time a priority. They need to see us sitting with our Bible and/or devotional book open in our lap not only at church, but many days during the week. They need to see that it makes a difference in our lives; that it is important to us.
A natural outgrowth of soil preparation is seed planting. No worries when it comes to seed quality. The seed of God’s word is extraordinarily full of life!
Following are some ideas that worked for me at various times through the years in planting the seed of God’s word in my children’s hearts. If one idea does not work, don’t stress, try a different idea. All ideas will not work for all personalities of children at all times. You know your children best.
- It is important to make good use of teachable moments – moments that our children are open to hearing what we are ready to teach.
- Work at having children memorize scripture and memorize along with them. To make it more fun you can make a pie chart or graph to color in as each verse is memorized. Plan a fun celebration to have at the end of memorizing a chunk of scripture.
- Sing with them songs they learn in class at church. Teach them Bible verse songs, the books of the New Testament song, the books of the Old Testament song, 12 Apostles song, etc. Children love music! It is a great way to teach. It doesn’t matter if you can sing on tune or not.
- Back during the days of Nintendo I was able to find several games that worked with the Nintendo which had Bible based messages. That way, playing the video game was fulfilling a purpose.
- At gift giving times think of looking for gifts from Bible book stores. There are all sorts of interesting gifts. For example, books and games, pencils and t-shirts with verses on them, simple children versions of Bibles with pictures in them, CDs, and DVDs, among others.
- Make it a habit to go to church and take your children. They need good, sound friends, not only when they are very young, but especially in the tumultuous teenage years. I know that all friends found at church will not be stellar, but there will be far fewer “bad companions” found at church than out in the world.
- Decorate your home with Bible verse pictures. There are many choices available, anywhere from those suitable for a child’s room, to those beautiful enough for one of the main rooms in the house.
- Even while they are young consider and prepare for sending your children to Christian Universities.
Look at the tiny black seeds in the seed picture above. They are the ones that grow into these tall red plants in the picture below. The plants in the picture are teenagers. They have not yet reached their full height with glorious plumes.
We simply never know when we spend time preparing the soil, planting the seed of God’s word in our children’s hearts, watering and nurturing the planted seed what the appearance of the finished product will be, but God states that his word will never return to him empty.
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. ~ Isaiah 55:11, NASB
Much of my own memorization, love of scripture, and respect for God’s word came from my growing up years when my parents drug me to church and Bible classes. So start early. If early has passed, start now, where you are, but positive changes must be seen in you for a teenager to take any changes seriously. Make it fun. People, including children, were drawn to Jesus. People in general and children in particular are not drawn to a somber person with a crabby expression on their face.
In addition, let’s adopt as our mantra Deuteronomy 6:5-9:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts [soil preparation]. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates [seed planting].