We’ve been growing bean seeds in ziplock bags on our window sill, part of a science experiment for our home school. I’ve loved watching those little guys grow every day. For a few days, nothing at all happened. Then, almost like magic, they sprouted and took off. It seemed like we could see new things growing by the hour!
Do you realize what a precious little seed you are planting in the life of your child? It often seems like nothing is happening, especially spiritually. We often think that all our efforts are for nothing.
I have a friend whose daughter started Bible college a few weeks ago. It has been pure joy to watch her sprout and bloom and grow – so quickly! She is turning into a mature young woman who wants to follow after God with all her heart.
Do you remember Timothy in the Bible? His faith started out as a tiny seed, planted and nurtured first by his godly grandmother Lois, then carefully watered by his mother Eunice. These women must have prayed for this little guy, then they carefully taught him in God’s laws. By the time he was grown, he was a mature believer, who was full of the spirit of “power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (see 2 Timothy 1:3-7).
Just like Timothy, God saw your child “before the world began” (1:9). If your child had been the only soul on earth, God would still have “abolished death” and brought your child life and immortality through the Anointed One, Jesus (1:10).
What a privilege to be a mother! What a joy to plant seeds, water them, and nurture them!
So take notice of Paul’s careful warning to Timothy, a warning that we mothers need to heed:
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. (1:13-14)
“Timothy, guard it! I gave you sound words, sound teaching. Hang on tight! The Spirit of God dwells in you and has committed a very precious trust to you, Timothy! Be careful!”
Moms, can you hear the warning? Paul tells Timothy that everyone in Asia had deserted him. Families are deserting truth today as well. Did you know that only four percent of all Christian teenagers will be Bible-believing Christians as adults?
How can we help our sons and daughters be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2:1)? How can we take the truths that are in our hearts, the things we’ve witnessed first hand in our walk with God, and commit them to faithful children, who will be able to reach their generation also (2:2)?
First, Paul tells Timothy to learn to endure hardship, as a good soldier (2:4). We need to learn to compete as an athlete, to get in shape spiritually (2:5). We need to be like a hardworking farmer (2:6).
To endure hardship, we have to set the prize before us and keep our eyes on it. We have to learn to persevere in the most difficult of conditions. We do it “for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2:10). For our children, we keep on keeping on.
Second, we need to learn how to correctly handle the word of truth (2:15, NIV). It does a farmer no good to persevere in weeding his fields if he pulls up the wrong plants each time! He needs skill and knowledge!
Paul describes some theological error that was circulating among the churches in Timothy’s area. We have some of those in our time, too. He tells Timothy that God’s words are a foundation (2:19) that stands sure.
Timothy had known these Scriptures from early childhood (3:15). These Scriptures were planted in his heart and were able to make him “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (3:15). But the seeds kept growing, and the fruit was “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (3:16-17).
Oh, this is what I want for my children!
Paul warned Timothy that people would come along who would argue with him (2:14). They would tell him that his faith in God’s Word was incorrect, even trying to destroy his faith (2:18). How did Timothy overcome?
Because the seeds of Scripture were planted in his heart when he was young, Timothy knew right from wrong. He knew how to please his heavenly master. He was ready to do jobs of eternal importance and had set apart his life “for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2:21). He was prepared to “flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2:22).
He also knew how to avoid those “foolish and unlearned questions” (2:23) that are so often asked by peers who have no Scripture planted in their hearts. He knew how to stay out of pointless arguments. He had practiced being “patient” and “gentle” and “meek” (2:24). Most of all, he was prepared and ready to teach others, in the hopes that perhaps God would allow them to repent and come to the knowledge of the truth.
A warrior. A farmer. A plant grown up and strong.
It all began with a grandmother and a mother. Are you planting seeds like that in your child? They must be in your heart first (Deuteronomy 6:6). This is the key. You need to take the Scriptures and saturate your life with them, from the first pages of creation to the final pages of time in Revelation. You must study the prophets, the kings, the psalmists, and the wise proverbs. You must cry with Jeremiah and triumph with the apostles in Acts. You must learn how to keep God’s commands and love others as He loves.
As you learn, draw that tender little plant into your nurture and care. Read aloud. Act it out. Memorize and sing. Water, feed, love, and shelter. Watch God’s Word grow by the hour! It really is that simple.