If you know me well you know I enjoy working in my yard and growing all kinds of plants. So when Grandparents Day was held in November 2016, I was excited to receive a packet of seeds following the elementary program. My good friend, Julie Rice, was kind enough to give me a few extra packets so I was ready to prepare the bed and plant the seeds in February.
In many ways, our children are like plants. We are responsible for raising them in the knowledge of the Savior. That begins by preparing them for the road ahead. For me that meant sending them to Lakeland Christian School, being in regular attendance at church, and having family devotions. But it was much more. Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” We are commanded to nurture (aerate and enrich the soil), encourage (water and fertilize), discipline (prune), and guide (thin and weed) them. And just like tending a garden is work, rearing a child is work also. It requires a commitment to consistently follow through even when you’re tired and irritable. But in the end, the fruit of your labor is worth every minute.
When I planted the packet of seeds, I had no idea what would come up. We really don’t know much about our children when they come into this world. Every child is different. Each day we must seek wisdom from God, and just as plants need the light of the sun, our children need the light of God’s Word which is a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path. (Psalm 119:105)
As sometimes happens when I plant tiny seeds, I overplant. As my plants began to grow, I realized I needed to make adjustments. Weeds voluntarily came up and began to choke the healthy plants. Some healthy plants needed to be removed to make room for growth. Throughout the maturing process, children need our help dealing with negative influences and making choices that point them to a life centered in Christ. At times even the good must be set aside to make way for God’s best. As parents, we can help a child navigate the tough choices he will face. Scripture admonishes us to teach our children God’s Word. II Timothy 3:14-15 says, “…continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Each day I am amazed at the beauty of God’s creation. When I planted those tiny seeds I had no idea what to expect…what was hidden in those seeds. The large prolific blossoms were far more than I had imagined.
I pray daily that God will complete the work that he has started in the lives of my children. I believe the best is still to come and I can’t wait to see what He accomplishes for His glory.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
John Douglass is the archivist at Lakeland Christian School. You can email him at email@example.com.