Hooray for summertime! In our house, summer brings rest, relaxation, late mornings, late evenings, and lots of lazy days. We have been counting down the days for summer!
During the school year, my girls wake up by 7 a.m., are out of the house by 8:15, at school until 3 p.m., come home, do homework, have down time, head off to ballet or soccer, get home, eat dinner, take baths, and are in bed by 9 p.m. I am exhausted by dinner time!
But, summer is here! And it is glorious! It is in these slow days I want to make every moment count with my children. While I know all moms desperately need the rest that comes with summer, it is a perfect time to captivate our children with little seeds of faith. We must be constantly aware of the important job we have been given to pass on our faith to the next generation.
Recently, while reading the “Parable of the Sower” in Matthew 13, God opened my eyes in a fresh way to the truth of His Word. In this passage of scripture, Jesus uses a parable to describe the condition of four different types of soil:
“A sower went out to sow (plant). As he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:3-8
Now read a portion of the explanation Jesus gives us of this parable in Matthew 13:19-23:
“As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.”
As I read this familiar passage of scripture, the picture of the rocky soil shook me. Having been an elementary school teacher, one thing I learned is, children take you at your word. They have the faith thing down! They simply need to be taught the truth, and they receive it with joy.
In The Duties of Parents, J.C. Ryle says:
“God gives your children a mind that will receive impressions like moist clay. He gives them a disposition at the starting point of life to believe what you tell them, to take for granted what you advise them, and to trust your word rather than a stranger’s. He gives you, in short, a golden opportunity of doing them good. See that the opportunity be not neglected, and thrown away. Once let slip, it is gone forever.”
Our primary duty as Christian parents is to raise our children to love God with all their hearts, and give them a real understanding of the truth of God’s Word. We must help them formulate a biblical worldview so they will be rooted deeply in Christ.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 describes our spiritual duty, as parents, to train our children in righteousness.
We cannot simply take them to church, VBS, or a Christian school and expect heart training to happen there.
True discipleship in the home requires more than praying at dinner or having play dates with other Christian families. God clearly says it is our job to give our children understanding of His word and truth. It is in our day-to-day life – sitting, walking, lying down, rising up, any time, any place, doing any activity – that we teach them the Word of God and the heart of God. This is where their roots grow. It takes intentional time and understanding on our part to pass on a genuine faith to our children.
Later in Matthew 13, Jesus reminds us of the mustard seed; it is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of the garden plants, eventually becoming a tree. Notice the size of the seed – just a little seed. This is where we find rest. It isn’t a heavy burden. It is small seeds of faith and truth planted throughout our children’s day.
If we are faithful to give them an understanding of the Word of God, God, Himself, will bring the increase! He will make the roots grow!
This summer, without the distractions and schedules of the busy school year, be intentional in the small moments with your children to plant little seeds of faith. Trust God, as you are faithful to plant, that He will be faithful to grow deep roots from the little seeds, so your children may walk through life with the One who made their hearts.
“And he shall be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:3
Lord, help us to faithfully plant seeds of truth into our children’s hearts, trusting you to produce the harvest.
If you are looking for practical ideas for missional, summer, family activities, I encourage you to check out the links below!
*Be on the lookout each Monday in June for more posts from our “Summer Series,” encouraging us to make the most of the summer months with our families!
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