Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Genesis 2:15 (NASB)
There is something special about planting seeds in the ground and watching them grow!
But at the same time, it can become very frustrating waiting for the seeds to push through the dirt and begin to grow where we can finally see fruit from our labor. I couldn’t help thinking how raising children can be a lot like planting a backyard garden.
First we till the soil, removing all the rocks, sticks, clay and anything else that may hinder the growth of the young seeds. Being a father, we try to remove all the “stuff”’ that will hurt our children as they begin to grow. We go around our house and make it “child-proof”, making sure they have the best atmosphere in which to grow. We make sure that our plants are in a place where they get the best sun, water and good soil.
Father’s need to make sure that our children get the best of the “Sonshine” that’s available and that means sharing God’s Word with them when they are little. Reading to them from God’s Word is the best fertilizer we can give our children as they begin to grow.
As the plants continue to grow, we need to make time to weed the weeds that begin to grow alongside our plants. Father’s need to remove the weeds that will come alongside our children and choke out the good growth in them, easier said than done. Raising three daughters meant removing a lot of the “weeds” that came along for the wrong purpose. As the plants in our garden continue to grow through the growing season as we head to harvest time, we need to continue to weed, fertilizing, water and protect them from harmful bugs and pest that can destroy the fruit of our labor.
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)
Being a father means continuing to guide, protect, teach, and lead our children in the ways of the Lord. We may not see the fruit of our labor until many years later, but one day we will look at our children and see the wonderful men and women they have grown into!
-Tom Sember is the former men's ministry director for the New York District of the Assemblies of God. He currently is a men's ministry speaker and author and works closely with Mantour Ministries during our Mantour Conferences. He also writes a daily devotional for the Assemblies of God National Men's Ministry. To connect with Tom or to receive his daily devotional, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org