In his book Heartfelt Discipline, Clay Clarkson speaks about the importance of cultivating the soil of our child's heart. He refers to the parable of the sower and the seed and compares it to how we, as parents prepare our children to live for God.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown..." Matthew 13: 3-8
As parents, so many of us are tempted to focus mainly on the seeds. We try to give our children as many gospel seeds as possible - Church, Sunday School, Christ-centered literature, devotion times, times of service, etc. The truth is though, it doesn't matter what way we 'package' it, we cannot add to the awesome power of the gospel. The seed, is always good, because it is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can not change the seed - the seed remains. It isn't the seed that decides whether or not the truth is revealed and received, it is the soil.
The soil is the condition of our child's heart. How is their soul being prepared for a life devoted to Jesus? And how will their soul receive the truth when it is given?
Will our child's soul be cultivated like the good soil where the seed falls and grows and produces a bumper crop of God's love, grace, power and purpose? Or will our child's soul be like the rocky place or the shallow soil where the gospel either cannot be rooted or is rooted only inches deep? Will the enemy come and snatch the truth from our children because their hearts are not prepared to really embrace what God has for them? As parents, it is our responsibility and our calling to cultivate the soil of our child's heart. To breathe life and unconditional love and understanding into them. To show them the true nature of Christ by actually living it out every day. We are called to humbly live an authentic life devoted to the call of being a real disciple of Jesus.
That gospel seed is always good. We just have to diligently and obediently work to ready the hearts of our children to receive it completely..to accept and invite the truth to transform them from the inside out. Nurturing a soul is hard work. It's daily work.
It's prayer, selflessness and dependency on the Holy Spirit to guide us. It's the gritty day-in, day-out task of parenting like Jesus. Not so we can feel successful in some moral standard, but so we can stand before our heavenly Father and know we have obeyed His commands. We have truly done our best to disciple our children for the glory of God.
Praise Jesus that His grace covers us and cultivating the hearts of our children is not left in our hands without His help. He guides us as we rest in Him and we can count on His power to work in us and through us as he readies our children to fully accept and honor Him with their lives. Let's push into our Savior as we work to humble ourselves and selflessly nurture the soul of each and every one of our precious children.
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