I’ve never had much of a green thumb. My yard is more an eclectic collection of weeds than it is grass. But, that didn’t deter me this summer from planting my first vegetable garden in the back yard. Enthusiastically, I went to the store and picked up the supplies. After assembling the box for the raised bed, I planted an assortment of vegetables and herbs. Then, I watered … And, I watered … And, then, I watered some more. Before you know it, some of those young plants and seedlings began to take root.
We’ve enjoyed cucumbers, a few Roma tomatoes, a pepper or two, eggplant and all the rosemary and basil one can handle.
Looking after these immature plants and watching them grow, I can’t help but think about the importance of my role as a father. We, as parents, are responsible for helping our children grow – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In fact, even Jesus looked to his parents during his youth. The Bible says he was submissive to his parents and he “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:51-52).
One of the most important ways we can help our children grow strong spiritual roots is to encourage a hunger and love for God’s Word. Let’s be honest, it can be hard for our children to get excited about the Bible when there are so many gadgets and gizmos that vie for their attention. But, it’s not impossible.
First, let them see you spending time in the Word. If they see you reading your Bible, chances are it will be something they will want to do it. I love it when I see my 4-year-old daughter imitating my wife, who she sees on a daily basis reading her Bible at the breakfast table.
Secondly, make a habit of reading with your children. Every night, we read with our daughter from her storybook Bible. We let her pick the story, and after it’s over, we spend time talking about it.
Third, talk about the importance of the Word. The Bible is not just a book. It’s the primary way God speaks to us. We know that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). God wants to hear from us in prayer, and He wants to speak to us through His Word. He wants to have a relationship with us. For our children, it’s up to us to plant those seeds.
Back to our tiny back-yard garden: one of the cucumber plants has shriveled. The zucchini plant grows flowers but never fruit. And, the pepper plants just don’t seem quite strong enough to produce steadily. I’ve forgotten to water here and there, and I’ve never added compost or nutrients to the soil. I’m sure I haven’t properly tended the garden.
If we want our children to grow spiritually strong, produce steady fruit, and be prepared to withstand the storms of life, we have to encourage them to have a love for the Scriptures. It’s only then that the roots will take hold.