Ah, February—the month of love and romance, chocolate and roses, and yes—the obligatory Valentines Day (or so our minds have been programmed to think of the greeting card business.) Kids spend time carefully crafting heart and doily-decorated shoe boxes with mail slots to receive dollar store cards with superheroes or princesses from friends and classmates. Couples feel the pressure to honor the day with at least a cheesy card or maybe ordering a cheesy heart-shaped pizza. While all of these things are fine and can be fun traditions, I wonder if we could displace some of the energy spent on the theme of love—to actually loving God’s Word even more.
Recently, the Lifeway Kids team commissioned the Nothing Less* study conducted by the Lifeway Research team to find out what makes the biggest spiritual impact on kids as they are growing up. In other words, what can parents do now with their children that will make the biggest difference in their spiritual health as they become adults? The findings were simple, yet profound. The number one thing parents can do (by far) is to help their kids love their Bible. It should be no surprise that reading God’s Word is the biggest indicator of spiritual health in adulthood. After all, only Jesus transforms hearts and He does it through His Word. However, many parents (myself included), have a tendency to chase the wrong things that don’t even make the list of indicators for spiritual health in kids as they age into adults. Let’s use Valentine’s Day as an example.
As a mom, I have volunteered for countless class parties, baked cookies and cupcakes, bought cards, and yes, helped create the aforementioned mailboxes. Our family has participated in Daddy-daughter dances and Mother-son dates, made homemade crafts for teachers, and spent money on flowers for grandma. While nothing is particularly wrong with any of these activities, none of them points to making time for Bible reading.
So, this February, I’m declaring a “love your Bible” emphasis at the Magruder home. Yes, we will still make class valentines. But, more importantly, we will make time to read the Bible more. Ultimately, I want my kids to fall in love with God’s Word and know that the Bible is His love letter to them. The heart behind it all is to rearrange priorities to what really matters instead of chasing all the other things first. I am looking forward to walking through the Gospel of John and having great discussions about how much God loves us. Maybe we’ll have some heart-shaped cookies and cocoa while we read and then maybe we’ll call grandma to tell her what we learned (she actually prefers phone calls over flowers). Maybe you too can adopt the “love your Bible” emphasis in your home and ministry this February—and beyond.
Jesus answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. The one who doesn’t love me will not keep my words. The word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me. John 14:23-24 (CSB)
* The book Nothing Less by Jana Magruder is available at Lifeway.com or a Lifeway store near you.
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Lifeway Kids. She is a Baylor graduate and offers a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and publishing. She is the author of Kids Ministry that Nourishes and Life Verse Creative Journal, which she co-authored with her teenage daughter. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children reside in Nashville.