By Kimba Campbell
What comes to mind when you think of a 5th grade boy? Loud? High Energy? Loves bodily noises? Maybe messy? I have three sons so I know all the joys of raising boys! A few words that come to mind when I think about my now 14 year old son are disciplined and determined.
When he was in 5th grade, he went on a preteen retreat with our church. God spoke to his young heart and it changed his life and directed him down a path of seeking the Lord daily. Our children’s minister challenged the kids to read a chapter a day in the Bible. My son loves a good challenge so he wrote in his Bible February 25, 2019, “At the Deer Run retreat I started to read my Bible everyday.” He told me about this commitment when he got home that afternoon. Of course, I was thrilled to hear that my boy had committed to reading God’s Word daily! I thought he may start his daily Bible reading in Matthew or somewhere in the New Testament. He decided to start in Genesis and read the Bible straight through by reading a chapter a day. I really thought he would get discouraged when he reached Leviticus or Numbers, but he kept going. During the past 3 years, I have not reminded him to read the Bible. This has nothing to do with my parenting, but it has everything to do with the work of the Holy Spirit in his life. It has been such a joy watching him pursue the Lord and develop a love for God’s Word. I can remember several times when he had a sleepover at a friend’s house. When he came home, he would sit at the kitchen table, open his Bible, and read his chapter for the day. I honestly do not think he has missed a day of Bible reading over the almost 3 years. He is now in 8th grade, and he read Jude today. In just a matter of weeks, he will have read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation at the age of 14. Over the past three years, God has taught me so much by watching my son.
Here are just a few life lessons:
- When you make a commitment to something, write it down and share that commitment with someone. He wrote the date and his goal in his Bible, and he also shared this commitment with his family.
- When things get hard, keep going. I know there were times he was reading things he may not have understood or was a little boring, but he kept going. Don’t give up! Keep seeking the Lord daily!
- I know the Lord speaks to young kids, but it has been amazing to be reminded that God can use our kids to be an example to others. He has an older brother and a younger brother who have watched him which has inspired them to read more of their Bibles.
- God’s Word is alive and active! Watching my son stay committed to reading God’s Word has challenged me in my own faith walk and personal time with the Lord.
- The Holy Spirit pursues us and speaks to us. We must choose to have this time with Him daily to let him fill us. I know the Holy Spirit has spoken to my son over the past 3 years during his time in God’s Word.
- This has also reminded me that it is important to challenge the kids we teach to pursue the Lord daily. We desire for kids to have a personal relationship with their Savior. Encouraging our kids to seek the Lord through daily Bible reading is so important.
What are some ways that you can encourage the kids in your ministry to open and read God’s Word? Our children’s minister is currently challenging the kids to read a devotional daily and to memorize a Scripture a week. There are fun prizes along the way as well! Think about your ministry. What are some fun challenges you can do to get your kids in God’s Word? It may be to challenge them to read a chapter a week or you can provide daily devotions for your kids. If you are looking for a Kids devotional, we provide them at Lifeway Kids. We offer More (ages 4-7), Adventure (ages 7-10) and Bible Express (ages 10 and up). These age-level devotionals are designed to help kids find time with God in the midst of a busy week.
I pray for our kids that they will be filled with God’s Word so they are prepared to live out their faith in our world! I love this truth found in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” I know my middle son has set an example for me and many others over the years!
Kimba Campbell serves as the Lifeway Kids Publishing Team Leader for Bible Studies for Life. Before coming to Lifeway, she served on church staff for over 18 years in Texas, Georgia, California and Tennessee. Kimba is a Texas Aggie (Gig ‘Em Aggies!) and also earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Paul, stay busy with their three boys.