Two men from the city retiring from successes charm, decided to put out to country and start a little farm. The first farmer enjoyed the winter, lounging around the house; admiring sunrises and sets, and conversing vanities with his spouse. The intricacies of nature he would astutely observe, and stand amazed in the presence of the blessings God preserved. Living, laughing, and loving it seemed little work to do; this farming would be easy, he already knew. When it came time to plant the crop, he took his seed and sowed. Now it was time to wait, and see what the good Lord bestowed. He prayed for the rain, but not too much as to flood. He prayed for sun and shade, and that his crops not be a dud. Day after day he would stop and pray, and at the end of the season he was astonished to say, “Look at my crop. My plants are small. The field is full of weeds, and I can barely see a crop at all.”
Now the other man, though less in business success, was wise in his dealings and intelligent no less. He spent the winter studying, and talking with learned men; those who had experience, whose knowledge could help through thick and thin. He spent much of the time out preparing his field; making sure the ground was plowed and ready to produce great yield. When it came time to plant, he did so in the proper way and he wasted no time in tending the field as he worked hard day after day. Every day he would pray the same, as the other farmer would; but also got out and worked the field doing all as he should. And when the end of the season came, he looked at his field in awe. A bountiful crop had been brought forth, without weeds, without disease, without flaw.
Looking at these two men, I dare say it is hard to see. They both had good field, they both had good seed, they both had good sun and rain, yet only one did succeed. So let’s bring the application a little bit closer home, and examine the role of parents before their children are gone and grown.
As parents it is vital that we understand we have an ACTIVE – DAILY – DUTY in the lives of our children. Too many times we fail our children in that we are passive parents, not actively engaged in the development of our children. Anyone, by the blessing of God, can become a parent, but unfortunately not all parents live their daily lives BEING a parent – bringing their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Just as in the parable of the farmers, the crop grew regardless of the farmer; but it wasn’t just about the crop growing, but HOW it developed! Our children, by the laws of nature, are going to grow regardless. The question is; how are they going to mentally and spiritually develop? Consider some other parallels from the parable outlaid.
Many parents make no preparation in BEING parents. Sure they may be caught up in baby showers, what color to paint the kid’s room, what name to give them; but actually spend little time learning about how to “raise” their kids. They get so caught up in the moment of “becoming a parent” they completely forget, or overlook, their need to learn how to BE a parent day in a day out. Just as the foolish man who spent all winter engaged in vanity, as opposed to preparing himself to be a farmer. It wasn’t “owning a farm” that made him a farmer; it was doing the work (as the wise man did) that made him a farmer.
Likewise, when children are born we can oftentimes get so caught up in the ooodling and awwwing (for the first 16 years), that our children can be already “grown” by the time we realize we spent too much time admiring the field, rather than working in it. And let’s not think we can’t do both. I can admire my children just as easily (and realistically more so) by being involved in their maturation, as I can by standing back and looking from afar. My child NEEDS my mental and spiritual attention, just as a crop needs the diligent attention of the farmer. And If I as a parent am unwilling to step in and do that work and provide that attention, then my child will be left to fend for himself against the influence, weeds, and disease of the world.
Also, from the parable I do not in ANY way want to diminish the act of prayer. It is a vital part of a Christian’s life, and an important part of being a successful parent. But just as we can see the passive foolish farmers approach to prayer and the effects of removing himself from any responsibility to the crop; so we should be able to see the same as parents raising children. It is great to pray for the growth and success of your children and appeal to God’s help; but we should never use prayer as a substitute for our own responsibilities in being actively engaged in raising our children. Let us pray AND work, knowing that both working together will be of most benefit to the life of our children.
Your child may “grow like a weed”, but it is your responsibility as a parent to make sure that they don’t develop like, or into, one; but instead, that they develop an obedient working faith in God producing fruit for His kingdom. (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 24:30-34; Proverbs 19:18; 22:6; 29:15) Embrace this responsibility in hope that you can spend your latter years in joy and peace; rather than toiling in regret and despair at opportunity lost through abandoned responsibility. (Proverbs 10:1; 17:25)