The Blessings of Family

Psalm 128:1–4

A FAMILY IS LIKE MANY THINGS, perhaps most like a garden. It needs time, attention, and cultivation. The sunshine of laughter and affirmation. It also needs the rains of difficulties, tense moments, and serious discussions about issues that matter. And there must be spadework, where hardness is broken loose and planting of fresh seeds is accomplished with lots of TLC. Someone recently passed on to me suggestions for fifteen rows worth planting:

Plant four rows of peas: preparedness, perseverance, promptness, and politeness.

Then three rows of squash: squash gossip, squash criticism, and squash indifference.

Along with five rows of lettuce: let us be faithful, let us be unselfish, let us be loyal, let us love one another, and let us be truthful.

And three rows of turnips: turn up with a smile, turn up with a new idea, and turn up with determination.

And then? Well, from then on, it’s simple. Water, weed, tend with care, and patiently watch your garden grow. Someday, like me, you’ll look back and realize it was worth all the years of all the work and effort and prayer. Like a lovely garden, it will be a thing of grateful pride, of seasonal beauty, of daily sustenance.

Or, as the psalmist exclaims, the family is like a well-tended vineyard:

How joyful are those who fear the LORD—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the LORD‘s blessing for those who fear him.

PSALM 128:1–4

What blessings await you and your family this season as you offer thanksgiving to the Lord your God.

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.