My oldest daughter brought me breakfast in bed this morning. A cup of orange juice and a plate with 4 1/2 small chocolate donuts on it.
That number, as it turns out, was significant.
Every children's Bible class curriculum I have ever looked at includes an "application section" on the take-home page. They give them snazzy little names such as "Take It Home" or "Driving Home the Point" to encourage children to apply the Bible lesson to their everyday life.
I have rarely seen those sections amount to anything. Even when I was teaching Sweetheart's Bible class, we never seemed to remember what she was supposed to do or work on that week and when the teacher asks the students the next week if they remembered to help someone or tell someone that Jesus loves them or whatever, she is usually met with blank stares.
There is a reason why God intended parents to teach their children and not Sunday school (not that Sunday school is evil--don't misunderstand). There is a reason why Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is still ringing true with parents all these years after it was written. I'm just now getting it.
For years I was dependent on the children's ministry at our church to teach my children. Oh sure, I knew we played an important role and especially served as an example to our children, but I still expected a lot out of my children's ministry. That's why I felt it so important to teach my daughter's Bible classes--so I could be sure they were receiving good, solid teaching. It has only been within the last year that I began to see myself and my husband as the primary teachers and Bible class as icing on the cake (sometimes).
Last week Sweetheart was talking in a very mean tone to her little sister all week. I got tired of hearing it and tired of reprimanding her. "This is your sister, " I would say. "There is no way you would talk to one of your friends that way." I said many other things--but none of it managed to change her behavior.
And then it occurred to me to open God's word. (What an idea!) Together, she and I read 1 Corinthians 13 and also this section of James. S suggested that Sweetheart and I plan the children's lesson for church on Sunday. I know teaching something is the best way to really learn it, so I agreed. She and I did a great lesson and then this morning she brought me 4 1/2 donuts.
It seems she remembered the section of 1 Corinthians 13 that talks about how love is not self-seeking. And there was an uneven number of donuts. So, instead of taking the extra one for herself, she split it with me.
She applied it. She thought about these things when just she and God were in the kitchen doling out donuts. No one would have known if she had taken the extra donut for herself.
How many times have I taken the extra donut for myself?
And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3