It never fails. When I prepare a lesson to teach my sixth graders on Sunday mornings, I ALWAYS LEARN SOMETHING.
It’s funny to me that these eleven and twelve-year olds, many that have grown up going to church, think they “already know it all” when it comes to the Bible.
Of course they don’t, but because they’ve grown up hearing the stories of the Bible, they figure there’s not much more in there that they need to know. (Thank goodness I get to them before they reach Jr. High age!) ;o) I actually LOVE this age, in part, because they are hungry for the answers to the questions “WHY IS THAT IN THE BIBLE?” and “SO WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ME?!”
I can remember sixth grade well. You’re not a kid anymore. You’re not quite a teenager. It’s a transitional time of growing and learning–and insecurity. One of the best things we do for our sixth graders in our church is give them the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible. We know this is a challenging time for them, so we encourage them to take a giant step in their growth process: to take ownership of their faith. One of the most important goals I have for them is that they would get excited about God’s Word–discover it–and dig into on their own.
I gave my life to Christ when I was their age… and I am so thankful that I did! The sad part is that I really didn’t grow much or learn to read the Bible for myself until I was a young adult. I know many adults that use one excuse after the other for why they don’t read the Word… and in the words of Anne Shirley, “OH HOW MUCH YOU MISS!” Unfortunately, we DO have a reputation sometimes of acting like we know it all, when in reality we will never fully comprehend all that God intended for us until heaven.
“What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and what has never come into a man’s heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9
My pastor-husband is the theologian, so I could never compete (and wouldn’t want to!) with his PhD. He says that all of that learning is a means to an end. A tool for ministry.
Don’t you see? All of the reading and learning is not just for knowledge? We WANT our kids to learn the Bible–but it’s so much more than that! If all we do is absorb knowledge… aren’t we missing something?
I’ve been reading, studying, pondering the book of Ezra and one verse in particular jumped out at me.
This book is all about the exiles that have returned from Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Ezra, a priest and scribe, is accompanying a second group as the spiritual leader of this group of more than 40,000 people! When we read these genealogies and lists of people who returned to their homeland, we sometimes skim over all the names and numbers… but it is a true reminder that God does care about individuals, and that the work that they accomplished was done by people working together, rather than by just a great leader.
Ezra’s role is not to be diminished though, because the significance of rebuilding of the temple was directly related to the spiritual lives of these people (and to the coming Messiah!). This temple was only a building until the people of God returned to the worship of, and obedience to, the ONE TRUE GOD. And “The gracious hand of God was on him” because of his determination to study, obey and teach God’s Word. OH HOW I LONG FOR GOD’S GRACIOUS HAND TO BE UPON ME! Don’t you?
Because of Jesus, we don’t have the sacrificial system today,
Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them. For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do—first for their own sins, then for those of the people. He did this once for all when He offered Himself. Hebrews 7: 25-27
SO, Romans 12:1 tells us to, “…to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.”
Is this not an important reminder for us today? WE DON’T KNOW IT ALL, so we shouldn’t act like we do. On the other hand, it is crucial for us to be in the Word SO THAT we can live out the truths that it teaches us and hopefully point people to the Source of Truth. I don’t want the picture of my life to represent a “know-it-all”; my desire is that people would see a picture of love, humility, service and commitment to the Author, Creator, Provider, Sustainer and Savior of my life. HOW does that happen? The picture I portray can point people to Jesus if I saturate myself in His Word–and allow it to develop into a clear picture of Christ in me. I could never do it on my own… and I’m so grateful that I don’t have to.