I am not a gardener. There are not rows of corn in my backyard or even a tomato plant on my back porch. However, I did spend a summer working at a nursery and another at the MSU Horticulture farm and arboretum. During that time I developed more than just an appreciation for farmer’s tans; indeed, there are two things I know for certain:
- You can’t plant rice and expect to get potatoes; and
- A lot of work goes into tending, growing, and harvesting a plant.
You simply cannot harvest what you did not sow. And, planting and reaping are processes not completed overnight.
These same truths apply to raising our children. If we want to raise the next generation of Kingdom builders; young men and women sold-out and in love with Christ, we need to be deliberate about what we sow during the planting season.
We need to sow scripture coupled with the certainty of Biblical truth; the importance of discipline and the necessity of unfettered grace; and Godly wisdom equipped with the courage to act upon it.
It is up to us to ensure that our children know that they were created for a purpose; that they are loved immeasurably by their Creator, and that they are called to serve and love one another. We must teach them to walk confidently in the knowledge that even though they may not always know God’s plan for their life; they do know it finishes well. We need to teach them the value of perseverance; and the responsibility that comes with being known as a Christ-follower. They must recognize their value; the ransom of blood paid at the cross.
Important to the reaping is that our children see us acknowledging our own short-comings; not waved triumphantly around like a flag or worn like a badge of courage, but rather as indicators of our own need for a Savior. They must know that we too are messy, imperfect, and in need of the same grace extended to them. Even more important though, is that they see us as grace givers. We must not demand a bar of perfection we ourselves cannot meet. They need to see us extend grace to each other, freely, and without keeping score. They must see us extend grace to our spouse, our neighbor and our colleague. They must experience us extending grace to them; generously, daily and coupled with love.
Parenting, like planting is serious business. Plan and pray well.