Scripture Layaway

"My, your children know a lot of Scripture verses," Maria said to her friend Grace as they sat over coffee. "I can hardly believe they have memorized whole chapters of the Bible--and they are so young!"

"We have family devotions almost every evening," Grace replied, "and Scripture memorization is part of our devotional time. Children's minds pick up words easily when they are young--why not Scripture?"

"We should have a family altar, I know," Maria said, "but we are so busy with four children in the family. It seems like each child has something that needs to be done in the evening."

"I know," Grace replied. "My kids do, too. That's why it takes intentional planning for devotions and memorizing Scripture. Have it in the evening or morning, whichever time works better, but it won't happen by itself."

"I know, but . . .," Maria began.

"James and I want our children's minds filled with Scripture--not the latest movie," Grace said. "We make sure our kids finish their homework in time to have devotions just before they go to bed. That seems to work best for our family."

"I know we should have prayers, too," Maria said. "They say that everyone has a photographic memory, but some just don't have film. I guess I'm one of those." Maria smiled ruefully. "Scripture verses just don't seem to stick in my mind. How can I expect them to stick in my kids' minds, then?"

Grace gazed into the flower garden outside the window. "Remember when we were kids, every department store had a layaway plan? You could choose a dress and pay five dollars on it, and they'd put it in the back room. Every month you added a bit more until it was paid for."

"Mm-hmm." Maria nodded, and a smile of relief came over her face at the apparent change of subject.

"Well," Grace said, "Scripture memorization is kind of like that. You put in a little effort over a period of time, and before you know it, your family will have a portion of Scripture memorized." She brushed a strand of hair from her face. "Our family does it just that way. It may take us several weeks to memorize a psalm."

"I see," Maria said, cupping her hands around her coffee mug. "I guess I just thought your kids were especially bright, to memorize so much."

"No brighter than yours!" Grace chuckled.

"I'll talk to Martin about it this evening," Maria said. "I think you have a very good plan. What made you think up the idea?"

"Our parents had family devotions regularly," Grace said, "so when our first child was about 18 months old, it was easy for us to start." She got up to pour more coffee in their cups.

"Eighteen months! That's pretty early, isn't it?"

"It's better to be too early than too late," Grace replied. "Also, the Lord impressed us with a Scripture text."

"Oh? What is it?"

"It's Psalm 119:9–11. It says: 'How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you' (NIV). James and I really want our kids to live for God, and we felt this was a good way to help ensure that."

Maria nodded thoughtfully. "It sounds like Martin and I need to start a Scripture layaway plan!" she said.

By: Sylvia Stewart