While listening to Prof. Greg Koukl at this weekend’s Apologetics Conference, I realized that his comments on witnessing also provided insights for us as parents. He said, “I’m a gardener, not a harvester.” It struck a chord with me as I remembered Jesus’ Parable of the Sower.
- Cultivate hard, fallow ground. Once, I was given a patch of ground to use for a garden, but it was all grass. I needed to turn over the sod, remove the grass and all its tentacles (ribosomes), break up the dirt until it was soft and ready. As a pastor, I sometimes had to help people work through the wounds that had hardened their hearts so that they were not receptive to the good news of God’s love and grace. As parents, we too discover times when our children have hardened their hearts and closed their minds. Cultivating demands patience. But without it, the seeds will never penetrate as they need to.
- Remove the boulders that block the roots from reaching the water table. I would ask myself, “What are the world views that block a person from sinking roots deep into the water of God’s Word?” Things like evolution, naturalism, false views of Christianity, etc.
- Weed the soil so that it is prepared to receive the seeds. As parents we are constantly addressing the cares of this world and the desire for other things as our children grow. As a gardener, this is more of a constant process than a once and done deal.