Maybe you grew up like me, running around the white-steepled church smack in center of your small-town, playing hide and seek through the damp basement classrooms, sneaking the leftover communion bread in the kitchen after church.
You grew up knowing the treasure of the Savior, the white-robbed, purple-sashed Action Bible Jesus; singing Steve Green; knowing Adam and Eve, Daniel in the lions’ den, and Jesus on the cross before you knew your own telephone number. You stood in front of your whole Sunday School when you turned seven, eagerly receiving your very own bible. You know, that red, hardcover children’s version with a pale skinned, brown bearded, handsome Jesus across the front.
Maybe that’s not you.
Maybe you heard stories of a different Jesus, an imposter Jesus that sent you running from the church building as soon as you grabbed your diploma and your own set of keys. Maybe you have been running ever since, until somehow, somewhere, someone led you to the nail-pierced feet of the real treasure—the risen Son of God. The One who held onto you while you ran away from the pain, the emptiness, the hypocrisy, or maybe the truth.
Maybe you only knew Jesus as a swear word, a Christmas character, or the name your weird Aunt Lisa threw around at the family Christmas party.
Maybe you met Jesus in small doses, spread here and there. You showed up for Christmas, and Easter, and just enough Sundays in between to fill up your quota as a Baptist, a Catholic, a Pentecostal; whatever title it was that mattered in your family.
But whatever your story, now we’re here, wanting to lead our children to the face and hands and words of the real and risen Savior, the greatest treasure we meet in scripture.
We come with our baggage.
We carry our past with us when we open the words of scripture; we wear glasses of preconceived notions, shades of predetermined intimidation, blinders of preset beliefs.
We wonder where to start, what they’ll understand, and which words will move this life-giving gospel deep into their soul.
We worry we haven’t gotten it right, we’ve missed important things, or that we’re not smart enough to explain the words of God to our children.
The Treasure of the Savior
From beginning to end, the story of redemption has always been about God. The God who shot twirling planets across space by the words of his mouth chose the weak and broken things of this world to make himself known. This God who stepped down from his radiant throne and entered a broken world as a helpless baby born to defeated and demoralized people. He befriended lepers and tax collectors, fishermen and prostitutes, women and children, all of societies’ not enoughs. Our God used mud to give sight to the blind, water to bring wine to the wedding, children to feed the multitudes. So, don’t sit there stressing Bible degrees and church pedigrees, unread book lists, and unlistened podcasts. Instead, sit there celebrating a God who is enough.
This God who wrote the greatest story ever told in the pages of eternity, also wrote a new story, this gospel incarnate, inside of us. A story painted in sweeping brush strokes of Redeemer blood. A story that rewrote our past and redirected our future. A story that gave us new ears to hear the whispers of God, new eyes to see the gospel light shimmering on every page. The Author of the greatest story is present in the pages of scripture, and he is present in you as you tentatively whisper and confidently shout his words to your children, his beloved creation. This doesn’t rest on you, mom.
The question has never been, “Will he make himself known?”; the question is always,“Will my heart see him as the greatest treasure?”
Oh, we can give our children the facts:
We teach our beginnings from Genesis,
We sing the songs of Psalms,
We correct with the wisdom of Proverbs,
We marvel over Daniel surviving the lions’ den, Jonah surviving the stomach of a whale, and Lazarus surviving death.
We celebrate the miraculous birth of Jesus, his powerful miracles, his death and resurrection,
We repeatedly remind them to “love one another” from John.
We hammer in “Honor your parents,” from Ephesians.
We walk them down the Romans Road to a prayer of salvation.
These are good and true facts to share, but sometimes we still miss the whisper of the greatest story. We can teach biblical morality, embrace solid doctrine, and construct a God-centered worldview, but still miss the glorious gospel of the risen Savior on every page of scripture.
Our job is to bring a heart ready to see and share the treasure of the gospel.
Hunting for Treasure Together
Because the greatest gift we give our children isn’t handing them the all answers to life, wrapped in a sparkling red bow. It’s bringing them along with us as we live out the redemptive reality of Christ in us. When we come to God’s word with them, asking with utter confidence, “God, show us yourself today,” we are modeling for them how to live this life on earth. This is what they need.
So become treasure hunters together.
Next time you open the Bible with your children take a moment to pray your eyes will see the wonderful story of redemption on every page. Pause to consider the place this portion of scripture has in the narrative of salvation. Ask yourself some of these questions:
What does this show of God’s character? How is this character trait part of the redemption story?
God was faithful to Joseph in prison, and God is faithful to us too. We’re all stuck in a prison called sin, but God made a way for us to be free from this sin. Jesus came to pay for our sins and make us free from sin to know and love God.
What does this show about the deception of sin?
Cain murdered his brother out of anger and jealousy. But his sin didn’t make everything better—it made him lose his family. Sin tricks us. It makes us think God isn’t good enough.
How does this show our need for a Savior?
These laws in Leviticus are pretty crazy. All those sacrifices showed the Israelites that their sins had to be paid for. But we don’t have to make any sacrifices anymore. Jesus died to be the sacrifice for every sin the world has ever seen.
What do these commands reminds us about Jesus?
God’s doesn’t tell us to love one another just to make people happy. God tells us to love others to imitate Jesus. Jesus loved us so much he came to die for us. And he also gives us his power to love others.
Once you get a taste, once your heart starts to see these glimmers of the gospel in every open Bible, you won’t be able to stop digging. And even though you won’t always do it consistently or perfectly, you can show your children the eternal rewards of this inheritance, kept in heaven forever. By God’s grace, they’ll become treasure hunters too.
Stephanie lives in Massachusetts surrounded by three little boys and one great man. She finds time to write for her blog in between her jobs as homeschooling mom, Nerf dart dodger, woods wanderer, and story reader. She has a passion for finding words that bring the greatest story to life for her kids. She recently created a free, 8-day family devotional on the life of Christ that you can find here.