Week 7: The New Testament and Children Cont’d
Day 4: Stop Assuming – Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20,21
Sometime last year, I sat down with my Sunday School class of 8-13 year olds and said, “OK, here’s the deal, our Sunday School material skips 5 chapters of the Bible between 1 Kings and 2 Kings, and when it picks back up it skips another 15 chapters and leaves out some really important things – like God’s fulfilling the prophesy concerning Jezebel’s demise. So, we have two choices. We can either just stick with the material, or we can break away from the material and find out what God said in those chapters.”
I was shocked at their response. They were almost angry that the material had skipped so much. Why? Because they have been taught that God’s Word is precious and important. They have been taught that it applies to them personally and they need to know what it says.
The Bible isn’t just for grownups. Sunday School isn’t just about telling the most fascinating stories from the Bible in an entertaining fashion. Just as the New Testament Church included the children in their activities, God made sure to include them in His instructions to believers. In Ephesians 6, in the midst of giving all kinds of instruction to husbands, wives and servants, God stops and turns His attention to the youngest members of the church,
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
He doesn’t leave them out, and He even reassures them that if they are obedient they will be blessed. There is a promise that goes along with the command: long life.
In a very similar setting in Colossians the instruction is repeated: “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord.”
Is it a great long discourse? No, certainly not, but it is enough to let the children know that God has desires for them too. The direction is very simple and directed right at the level where they are growing and maturing. Obedience is one of the most important childhood lessons, and it closely relates to many other lessons as well. As adults it’s easy to forget how difficult that simple lesson can be, but even we don’t have it mastered.
How grateful I am to both of my parents, but especially to my mom, for emphasizing over and over as we were growing up, “This is God’s Word and He has written it for you, so that you can know Who He is and what He has done for you.” It has taught me to cherish the Scriptures, to seek God’s direction daily, to try to live according to His Word. Who will do that for the fatherless? Who will say, “God has a special message for you of hope and love and forgiveness. We find it in the Bible.”
Assumptions usually seem small and insignificant, but small assumptions lead to disasters.
My first year in Russia, several friends and I headed out to church in a small town just outside of Moscow. As usual we took the train and were paying close attention to the announcer so we wouldn’t miss our stop. When we got to our stop, however, the train doors wouldn’t open. The train skipped the next couple of stations and finally stopped in another town. We hurried off of the train, through a different door of course, and started making our way down the platform to the stairs and covered footbridge that would take us to the return platform. As we went, one of the guys in our group jumped down on the tracks, crossed them, scurried up the platform on the other side and ran to the schedule board to see when the next train was coming. We still had half the distance of the platform to cover when we heard him yell, “Hurry, ya’ll, it’s comin’!” Instinctively, we all looked down the platform and to the train rounding the bend just beyond it. It would take much too long to try to climb the stairs, cross the bridge and run back down the other flight of stairs; we would miss the train. So, we all jumped down, crossed the tracks and ran to the outside of the other platform, assuming that the train would arrive on the inside set of tracks.
One by one, we hoisted ourselves up from the ground to the top of the four and a half foot platform. Suddenly, as I was reaching for the platform, I heard someone yell, “It’s coming to this side!” It was too late, my hand had already wrapped around the outside edge of the platform and I had started to pull myself up. I looked over my shoulder in time to see one of my friends pull another friend away from the track and the approaching train. I turned back to face the platform and tightened my grip. I could feel the adrenaline pumping as I balanced, one hand gripping the platform edge, one shin against the platform, the other leg hanging free. I put my head down and braced myself as I heard the whistle blow. Then I felt it, the rush of wind as the train rattled and hissed by me, three inches from my fingers and head. I waited till the blast of wind was gone, then pulled my feet up to the surface and ran to where the rest of my group was waiting. The assumption we made that day was small, but it could have cost us our lives.
When it comes to the fatherless, we are tempted to assume that somehow the need will be met. Someone will take care of it. But assumption leads to disaster. If everyone is assuming, then no one is doing.
How many orphans have died without Christ because we all assumed someone else was taking care of it? Do we leave them clinging to the edge of the precipice with eternity barreling down upon them?
The assuming needs to stop.
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Also Check out Rachel Miller’s Book: The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption