Recently I put out one big long row of tomato plants in my garden (24 plants to be exact). I figure if a few tomatoes are good....a lot of tomatoes must be great! This year the big rage is planting "Heirloom" tomatoes. I'm pretty sure I paid more for the plants just because it had the word "heirloom" on the label. The word Heirloom simply means something that is passed from one generation to another in a family. I'm quite certain that the "Heirloom" tomato plants I bought were NOT passed down from the father of the Lowes' manager! However, as men, there are certain Heirloom seeds of faith that we can pass to our children.
Will your children be raised in a home where God is primary or secondary? Will your children grow up thinking that travel baseball is more important than church? Will your children have fond memories of family bible studies at home? Will your children one day take this same faith to their family?
The leadership of the Father determines the direction of the family on these matters! Exodus 20 tells us that the sins of the Father carry to the 3rd and 4th generation. Scary isn't it. When you blow it with sin, you are literally affecting your children's children (King David's sin with Bathsheba affected several generations). However, later Exodus 20 tells us that a Godly father blesses 1,000 generations! As a young father, I want to leave a spiritual legacy for my children.
Five "Heirloom" Seeds of Faith to Plant in Your Family
1. Have a Family Bible Study - I know it's a foreign concept to some, but the Bible does not tell us to "outsource" the spiritual teaching of our children to the church or the Youth Pastor. The Bible actually tells us that the home is the central place where children are to learn God's Word. Start with one or two nights a week. Gather everyone in the living room and read a portion of scripture or a Bible Story and discuss. My kids love for me to quiz them on what we've read. Then join hands and everyone in the family can pray together (even the 2 year old)! Give it a couple of weeks and I bet your kids start asking can we have a family bible study tonight?
2. Focus on Your Faith - Your kids will ultimately love what you love. If you love hunting, more than likely they will too. If you love the Tarheels (like we do), then your kids will probably pull for the Tarheels also. And if you love Christ, your kids will too. I believe when kids see their Father living out his faith in the home it's contagious.
3. Pray with your Wife - Some men get more nervous about praying with their wives than they did before taking the SAT. Set aside time each day or a few times a week to pray with and for your wife. Don't lock the door. It's OK if your kids see you doing this together!
4. Be Active in Church as a Family - It's sad to see the steady stream of cars swing through the church parking lot on a Wednesday night and simply drop the kids off. Kids want to be involved in things you are involved in. If you are simply going through the motions, then when they reach age 18, they are going to decide that they don't have to go through the motions anymore.
5. Honor the Date Night and Keep It Holy - This is the 11th commandment for marriage. The best thing you can do for your kids is NOT be a good provider or little league coach. The best thing you can do for your kids is to love your wife! To love your wife well, you will need to date her. This doesn't have to mean expensive restaurants. But set aside a "date night" every week or so and make sure she knows that she is first among all your relationships.