A teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds in church. After explaining the commandment to “honor thy father and thy mother” she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Without missing a beat one little boy answered, “Thou shalt not kill.” Just a little childlike humor to start us off!
How are raising your children? But even before I get there…Do you love God? It is really hard for us to teach something that we don’t believe in ourselves. So for example, my daughter loves my special “mac and cheese” meals. One day she asked me to show her my special recipe. Not from the box! So I did.
Imagine if she had asked me and I did not know how to make the recipe and maybe had been secretly ordering it from a restaurant all along! OMG!! The only reason I could have shown her was because I knew! As an adult, first you need to know and love God for yourself. Then it becomes so much easier for you, and me, to teach and to emulate the lives that we want our children to live.
King David wrote “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” Ps. 119: 105. God wants His word to change our lives and help us grow spiritually. I’ll use a bible story to illustrate my point. One of my favorite stories in the bible speaks about a sower and some seeds.
One day Jesus told the story of a man who scattered seeds that he wanted to grow. Seeds need good soil, water, sunshine, right? We all know that! Some seeds fell out in the open, some fell on rocks, some seeds got choked by weeds, some fell on rich soil. I imagine the sower originally set out to have all his seeds planted in rich soil, of course, but some fell down along the way!
Jesus explained the story to his followers.
He said the surface or type of soil is like a person’s heart and the seeds are like God’s word, for example, a reading from the Bible or a message about God’s kingdom.
Seeds that fell in the open or by the ways are persons who hear God’s word, don’t understand it and the devil snatches it away before they do.
Seeds that fell on the rocks, Jesus explained, represented persons who hear God’s word and get all excited but then give up trying to grow when things get tough. It’s hard to grow on rocks after all!
Seeds that get choked by the weeds are those individuals who hear God’s word but get busy with life, their jobs, careers, family, friends etc. Instead of prioritizing God in their lives, focus on the cares and worries of this world.
Seeds that fell in good soil represent the persons who hear God’s word and it totally changes their lives! They grow stronger spiritually and do many wonderful things for God in this world.
King Solomon says that parents ought to “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Not only was King Solomon the wisest man who ever lived, but he was also the son of King David. King David as we read before, advocated that God’s word was our lamp and that we should adhere to God’s word if we want to truly be successful in this life. I am not saying that David’s life was perfect and that he was the best parent ever. Far from! But his willingness to follow God in spite of his shortcomings and to train up his children according to God’s word resulted in a son who made his father proud and who ultimately became the wisest man on earth!
So parents if you want your children to love God, first, you must plant His word in their hearts. If you are a parent, and even if you are not, I hope you will plant these seeds of love for God in the hearts of your children and all the children you interact with today. God wants His word to change your life and children’s lives too everyday.