Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they’re older they won’t depart from it.”
I’ve often heard pastors and spiritual leaders teach that this verse promises a spiritual boomerang of sorts— “Raise kids with a moral compass, in the Christian faith, and— even if they sway away in their teen or young adult years— they’ll eventually return to the faith.”
Thankfully this dynamic occurs. If— and when— we veer off-course, God calls us back to Himself. However, that’s not what this verse actually teaches. Instead, this verse highlights another truth entirely.
The word-imagery in the original Hebrew language of the Old Testament relates to buildings. It’s the wording used of blueprints and architectural designs. Solomon (the author of the verse) contends that in the same way engineers and craftsmen create cities and skylines with intentionality and purpose, so also God takes the same care in His craft of creating people.
In effect, this Proverb tells us,
“Your child has a specific design, a purpose all their own. Identify that when they’re young. When they’re older, they’ll walk in that purpose. And they’ll be all the better for it.”
In other words, we can accurately read the verse like this…
“Train up a child in their unique design, according to their blueprint…”
Beth and I have ten kids— currently ranging from ages 8-20. Each of these amazing humans have been raised in a similar environment with the same educational and social opportunities. They’ve been offered access to the same level of parenting skill (or lack of skill!). They’ve experienced the same financial ups and downs, as well as every other life-factor.
Yet they’re still radically different from one another.
Sure, they have some similarities:
I could continue highlighting commonalities among each of them. The truth, though, is that— despite being raised in the same environment and having access to the same opportunities— they’re each incredibly different.
That is, part of who they are certainly as to do with nurture (how they were raised) but much of it has to do with nature (how they were created).
It’s easy to see this truth in kids. However, the same concept holds true for adults, too.
Look back at Proverbs 22:6.
Notice that it’s a verse written about kids specifically for the season in which they’re older— when they’re adults. It’s easy to forget— or even overlook that fact. Especially as we grind into life.
Yet it’s essential to apply this verse to us for at least two important reasons—
First, your dreams are bigger— much bigger— than what you do to earn money. Ideally, those dreams include the financial engine required to maintain your home, pay your bills, and keep food on the table. But, they’re more.
(We begin defining these dreams on pages 47-48 of the Advance book.)
You’re blueprint doesn’t just include what you do for “work.” Nor does it exclude it. I think it actually includes it— and more.
Second, time is a limited resource. The “working hours” comprise 25-30% of the total time we have each week— and we’ve got to sleep and do everything else with the remaining hours. If we can do something during the working hours that aligns with our purpose and passion… all the better.
In other posts, I’ve referenced Ephesians 2:8-10. I talked about being “God’s art,” created by Him to walk in good works which He planned for us before time even began. I said the same grace that saves us is the same grace that also empowers us to live our purpose. The two are connected.
We also referenced one of my dad’s lines: “You are a unique, unrepeatable miracle of God.”
My friend Brandon says it like this: “You were created to create something only you can create.”
We need you.
You contribute something that no one else has, something we’re all the better for.''
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