Monday, February 07, 2011

What God Gives, Part Three

These lessons apply not just in Sunday school but in everything.

Because honestly I find it hard to be excited about a lot of things.  The days and weeks can be drudgery.  Repetitive.  Nothing new.  Except new piles of laundry.  I wonder if I am wasting my life.  Or if there are better things I could be doing.

Normally, I have a different attitude about being a mom.  I am passionate about it and want to do a good job.  It’s just that I get tired. 

I have a semi-willing heart.  What if I pray for God to give me passion and equip me to be a mom, a wife and a Sunday school teacher that can do His work?  It seems like I’m always being asked to do lowly things.  Homemaking, Sunday school, working in the nursery, helping the elderly and mothering kind of feels like the pits.  Maybe going to your job day in and day out is sucking the life out of you.  It just seems like there must be something bigger and more exciting out there. 

But there is joy in doing what God has called us to.  He can use us right where we are at.  And if you are committed to teaching Sunday school or already have kids:  God has called you to those posts.  Just like Judy and Leona who have faithfully taught Sunday school over the years.  Or all the moms who have been faithful to serve the needs of their families.  The pathway to joy and greatness is through humility. 

Desiring God just tweeted this John Piper quote:  “To be humble is to be a servant.  They are not the same.  But humility leads to joyful readiness to do lowly service.” 

God knows that I would never choose humility.  I know it too.  I’m just so prideful.  But as He continually puts me in the position to serve, He’s growing that in me. 

If I want true joy, it won’t come from chasing my dreams or what I think will make me happy.  It will come from laying my dreams down at the foot of the cross and being willing.  Willing to get up in the night with the baby.  Willing to pack lunches in the morning.  Willing to put your own needs on the back burner for your family.  Willing to teach preschoolers one hour a week.

God gives the strength, the joy, the wisdom.  Can I provide a willing heart?

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:1-2

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 2:4-5

What God Gives, Part Two

I wasn’t too excited about spending Saturday at a Sunday School conference.  Honestly if I could have a whole Saturday to run off by myself there are a few other things I could think of to do.  Or conferences I’d be more passionate about. 

They keynote speaker spoke about what a privilege it is to spread the greatest message to kids.  He explained that we are placed in our ministry for a purpose.  That helped me change my attitude a little. 

I remember a Sunday school teacher I had that had us all memorize Psalm 1.  I was in 4th grade.  I still know it.  The kind of impact we can have with the kids we work with is profound.  And it is a privilege.  It should be about more than obligation.

I went to two preschool breakout sessions.  I unabashedly told the people at my table that I teach preschool because no one else wants to.  And that’s the truth.  It certainly wouldn’t be my first choice.  I’ve always taught it with my own kids hanging off my leg. 

The first session was really informative.  The woman that talked had all sorts of degrees and experience in early childhood.  There was good information.  I left there thinking, “see some people are just gifted for working with kids this age.”

The second session was taught by a woman I have known forever.  She has been the kindergarten Sunday school teacher at the church I grew up at for 23 years.  She has no training.  They asked her to teach kindergarten and she wasn’t so sure.  She thought she’d try it for a year.  And here she is teaching a seminar on it.

She had practical idea on idea and  I was writing as fast as I could.  It was obvious that she loves what she does.  Although she now has a job at a seminary she admitted that when she fills in the occupation part of her income tax form she wants to write “kindergarten Sunday school teacher”. 

I began to feel convicted about my attitude.  God can take our semi-willing hearts and transfer that into passion.  He can give us the skills we need to do the work he has for us.  I have begun praying that he will do that in my life.  That I will consider it a privilege to share God’s word with these precious kids.  That I will be excited.  That I will prepare.  That I will pray.

I was convicted after our last Sunday school meeting where we sat down for five minutes after church to quick dole out tasks that maybe we weren’t giving our best.  That we are just muddling through. 

I don’t think it’s impossible to think that we could take a night to meet and plan and pray.  That we could look ahead expectantly at what we can do to show the kids Jesus in a powerful way. 


Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on this law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.

Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.  Psalm 1:1-6

(I tried to type this from memory and the end was a little rusty.  This one is going on the treadmill so I can freshen it up in my mind.)