Planting seeds of steadfast faith in our families

 “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God... Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”  — Luke 8:10-11

By Frank King

Gregor Mendel is known as the father of modern genetics.
   His studies of plants in the mid-1800s led him to conclude that by means of the genes contained in the seed, plants pass on vital characteristics to their offspring.

As a Christian, Mendel drew heavily on the Word of God in his research.

During his time, he began a project on the steadfast quality of seeds which continues to this day.

Researchers at Michigan State University have discovered that seeds that are stored and later planted can still reproduce even centuries after the parent plant has died.

Despite the time difference, these offspring inherit their qualities and characteristics from those parents.

The key is in the seed, which holds everything necessary to reproduce its kind.

This same quality of steadfastness can also operate in our families, if we plant the proper seeds in the proper way.

Legacy is the fruit born of generational seeds that are planted, nurtured, harvested, and then replanted in the next generation.

Let’s explore Jesus’s parable of the sower and the seed in Luke 8:4-15.

Here Jesus teaches that when we plant the seed of God's Word, can expect to reap a crop of souls.

As with most parables, the Parable of the Sower and the Seed can be applied to many scenarios.

When Jesus said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, it applies to all areas of our influence. 

More specifically, it applies to building a steadfast family as an element of building the steadfast church.

Jesus tells us the seed is the Word of God (v.11).

A steadfast family is one where seeds of scriptural truth are continually being planted.

As the seeds germinate, take root, grow, and bear fruit, the seeds from that new fruit are replanted to produce the next generation in the family of faith.

Both Susan and I were raised by parents who used biblical truth to guide their values.

They planted the seeds of that truth into our lives, and it bore fruit. We learned accountability to God and to people. We were taught the value of charity, kindness, and ministry to others.

Our parents modeled modesty, faithfulness, and loyalty.

The fruit born in us created a man and a woman who were charitable, kind, and devoted to meeting the needs of other people.

We were both reared by our biological parents, who remained married to each other until death.

When we were married, that lifestyle was the norm. We have now been married 47 years.

Into our children, we planted the seeds that we had harvested. Now grown and married, they are planting the same seeds. Two of our children have been married to their spouses for 20 years now, and the other for 12 years.

The new generation of seeds is also bearing fruit: our greatest joy is hearing our grandchildren repeat truths we told our children.

Legacy is the fruit born of generational seeds that are planted, nurtured, harvested, and then replanted in the next generation.

“But I never experienced that in my own life,” you may say. “How can I pass it on?” The good news is that you can start a new legacy with your next sunrise.

My father was raised in an abusive home. Before they were married, he and my mother resolved to break that cycle, and so far their decision has resulted in two generations and more than two dozen households of families who have never known abuse.

The everlasting truth of sowing and reaping is that you can toss out that old generation of bad fruit and begin a new crop by deciding to sow only good seeds.

The good seeds are in the Word of God, not in our dysfunctional families.

When Susan and I got saved and began studying the Word of God, we recognized the seeds that our parents had planted in us.

But whether or not you have received that seed from your parents, you can receive it from the Word, and begin your own godly, biblical legacy.

For example, you can sow seeds of protection. A steadfast family creates a safe place where children can relax and grow in the home where God has placed them.

Verse 12 speaks of seeds scattered by the wayside that the devil comes and steals away.

When children grow up in a protected, godly environment, the seed of God's Word is part of who they are. When the devil tries to steal it, they will resist him and he will flee (James 4:7).

Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Children must be taught to follow the path lit by the Word, not the one lit by the world.

They should learn to make the Word their own, understanding the work it does in their hearts, so that when counterfeit joy comes along, they will not be fooled.

Home is also a safe place for children to learn to fail. We must protect our children from harm, but not necessarily from hurt.

Children who are protected from every outside influence may appear to prosper in early life, but in times of testing they will be unprepared to stand for the Word.

They are like the seed on rocky ground, which has no root and falls away in times of testing (v 13).

Overprotective parents have nearly ruined an entire generation of children. Unable to deal with disappointment, change and opposition, they rant, riot and ruin that which they cannot have. If their parents had taught them how to deal with hurt, they would be better prepared for the real world.

A steadfast family prepares the ground, creating a godly environment for children to be raised in.

This involves removing the weeds and thorns that can choke out the seed of the Word (v. 14).

As parents establish family standards, they can monitor what their children hear, watch, and read.

This helps prepares the soil, creating a tender heart that is receptive to the Word of God, and so allowing it to take root. This doesn't mean that parents must filter out all negative influences.

This would be an impossible task. Building a relationship with your child that guides rather than judges will allow them to make decisions based on healthy, open, two-way communication.

When exposed to questionable material, your child should feel comfortable discussing it with you.

Remember, when we ourselves are tempted, the Holy Spirt comes to guide and to help, not to harangue.

A steadfast family promotes healthy growth by cultivating healthy lifestyles. That way, when temptations come, their offspring will not be choked.

To cultivate godly seed, the soil of the heart must be fed with a daily dose of the Word of God.

As children grow, we must take measures that encourage and facilitate this nourishment.

Family entertainment should be chosen that adds to the nurture of the soul, rather than detracting from it. Music, books, and media should all align with biblical standards.

Parents should model charity, accountability, and loyalty so that children will know what a godly lifestyle looks like, and emulate it.

They will also be less likely to fall for the devil’s lies about riches and pleasures if their worry is countered by God’s promise of provision.

A steadfast family promotes healthy hearts by passing on good and noble ideas to their children, cultivating that good soil that produces fruit (v.15).

I recently attended a funeral for a man in our church. He had been a business manager, a husband, and a friend to all.

Most of all, he was a father.

One of his daughters testified that he instilled in his children a steadfast faith. Her sister said that she knew he was still alive, because he lived on in his wife and children.

This man passed his nature and being on to those he loved because he put his faith in Jesus, and passed that legacy on to his children. He was a faithful sower of the seed.

   A steadfast family is the building block for a steadfast church.

   To us it is given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of God, Jesus said. God has called each of us to a steadfast faith.

That faith begins in an individual man or woman, and as they are obedient to His Word, they pass that seed on to their children.

Faith, like the seeds of Gregor Mendel, will germinate in our offspring, growing and bearing fruit.

As the receiving generation, they, too, are charged with the responsibility to pass on the seed.

As each family grows steadfast in its faith, so does the church.