"As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
Isaiah 55:11-12 (NIV)
I do not pay my children for cleaning their bedrooms or unloading the dishwasher. Instead, I have decided to pay them for reading the Bible. I will pay all of them a certain amount of money depending on the length of the book of the Bible they are reading. This has worked well in spurts. All three of them have read feverishly at times to earn money for something they really want (like the book fair at school this week). They usually use Sunday morning service at church for reading.
Do they understand it all? Absolutely not! That doesn't matter one bit to me. God is bigger than our level of understanding. He has promised that His word will not return void. I am convinced that my children's exposure to Word of God is the best investment Rob and I could ever make. Does it sound like bribing--maybe. My responsibility is not to try to figure out if my children "get" it. I have the Holy Spirit who can make those inspired words come to life on the page. God's Word has the power to watch over my children, to protect them from harm (including themselves), and give them hope when I cannot. They must be exposed to it. They are reading those verses for themselves. I am praying that what they are reading will come back to them at a later time when they have crucial decisions to make or are in the depths of despair.
There is nothing that God exalts higher than His Word and His Name. I want my children to read for themselves the awesome acts of Scripture. There is no way that this investment is not going to benefit both our children and us as parents.
My youngest just finished a book with eight chapters. She was so excited about her accomplishment. When I asked her what book she had finished reading, she got a disgusted look on her face. When I asked her what was the matter, she said,
"Man, Mom! I didn't know the Bible was so full of mushy, gushy stuff!"
"What do you mean, Jenna," I asked.
"I mean Song of Solomon! It has eight chapters, so I thought I could read it fast. But it sure does have a lot of kissing and stuff in it! Yuck!! I didn't think anything like that would be in the Bible!" she exclaimed.
Thank You, Lord, that the book is written in poetic language that went right over her head! She'll understand someday and be glad that You bless married love!
Jesus, may my children have an unquenchable thirst for Your Word. It is literally life to those who read it. Thank You that Your Word is so creative, so varied, and so awe-inspiring. Do what only You can do. Speak to them through Your Holy Spirit and illuminate their minds, even if they are reading for money for right now. Challenge them, convict them, and bring them hope through those living, breathing words on the pages of their Bibles.