Farmers work hard when it is time to work. They fertilize their fields in the fall, plow them in the spring, and plant their seeds in the furrows. Then they rest, and the wise farmers pray. They pray for rain, against a freeze, and for a bountiful crop. They rest in the reality that there is nothing more they can do. Farmers know the difference between sowing and growing. They can do the sowing but are powerless to do the growing.
Paul used this truth to illustrate the role God plays in transforming lives through the gospel. Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”(1 Corinthians 3:6-7)
Parents would do well to remember this farming lesson when it comes to training their children. We all want our children to be transformed by the Gospel, but we can often fail to remember that we are seed planters, weed pickers, and watering cans. God alone is the grower. Don’t get me wrong, our role is critical. You’ve got to plant the seed and a bit of water really helps. But then no amount of fear or worry in addition to the sowing can force the seed to grow. Wise parents like the wise farmers pray. They pray the Holy Spirit brings conviction, opens their children’s blinded eyes to the truth, and causes their sinful, dead hearts to spring to life.
That is why a seed is such a great picture for a kid. They are both dead and hard, without life. But when God speaks into that deadness, a green shoot of life emerges. Then suddenly the seed is transformed into a living plant which can itself bear more seed to sow.
So if you are a parent, share the gospel with your children, water it regularly with reminders, then rest in the power of God to work through the good news you’ve shared. God will make it grow.