The law from your
mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. —Psalm 119:72
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. —Colossians 3:16
This is the season for giving gifts. Parents everywhere are thinking about what their children want for Christmas and, perhaps, what they would like to give their children for Christmas—two things which are not always the same. More often than not, values differ; that difference leaves you with the question, what should we get the kids for Christmas?
Consider your own values. Knowing Christ through his Word is a great thing. The Word of Christ dwelling richly provides stability and direction. The psalmist says it powerfully—the Word of Christ is more precious than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. The Word of Christ enlightens the eyes, brings joy to the heart, provides light to navigate the pathways of life, and is living and active within us. What else can offer such wonder?
Your goal as a parent should be to shepherd the hearts of your children so that they will feed on the rich, nourishing Word of Christ. That is what will protect them from the beckoning call of the world. Feeding on the Word is more than attempting to control their behavior so that you and they are not embarrassed by that behavior. It is more than doing well in school or learning to make their way in the world. The richness of Christ’s Word provides the knowledge and protection that they need.
So, then, how can you give the gift of God's Word to your children? Is the obvious answer to purchase all of the commentaries, Bible study helps, study Bibles and other study aids you can afford and give these to your children instead of the presents they asked for and that you were going to buy? Well, some of these might be good, but it's probably not wise to overdo it. No, what I am suggesting is that the best way to present the gift of the Word of Christ to your children is to have that Word dwell richly within you. A full, energetic relationship with Christ through his Word dwelling in your life is a magnificent gift to your children. Only this will make you a biblical shepherd who is practical, caring and responsive to your children. Shepherding your child’s heart is an awesome and fearful task, but it is the task God has given you. Attempting this task without Christ’s Word richly living within you will only lead to frustration, both for you and for your children.
Perhaps the most valuable gift you can give to your children is to do a personal evaluation of just how precious the Word of Christ is to you. Are you thrilled to open your Bible? Seriously, how much time is given in your life to knowing God’s Word so that you will be able to be a faithful shepherd to your family? This means that your children will consider themselves to be adorned by your words. Simply confronting behavior doesn’t require much time in the Scriptures. But if your intention is to address the heart biblically, only the Word of Christ will do. When there is a problem with your children, what are you looking for? A solution to calm things down? — or are you looking to see how you can apply the Word of Christ to bind the relational wounds that your children both inflict and receive?
How great is knowing the Word of Christ to you? How much do you rely on this Word as you shepherd you children? Remember, you are always a shepherd to your children. Some days you may not be an especially good one, but you are always a shepherd nonetheless. Your children always need your shepherding care. The most important component of that care is to have the word of your own shepherd, the Great Shepherd, dwelling richly within.