August 13, 2019
This past Sunday we talked about how we can be intentional in reviving our time of worship, both corporately and personally. The passage from Psalm 84 encourages us to come hungry, to prepare ourselves and to be excited. We talked about how our spiritual diet has a great effect on the health of our spiritual body. Just as we train for various things, we need to train for our spiritual lives as well. Some days when we see the things happening around us, we can get discouraged or down and need to refocus for the excitement to come to the surface.
This next week we will be looking at Deuteronomy 6. The first part talks about teaching our children when we sit at home, when we lie down, and when we walk along the road. We should place those things we want to learn on the doorframes of our houses. This passage also talks about that we are to love the Lord our God with our whole being. We will be talking about what it means for us to learn and teach or to teach and learn. It’s often been said that if we aren’t teaching someone what we have learned we probably haven’t learned so much.
As students and teachers go back to school, and parents adjust to a new schedule, we often go back and relive those days in school that were many, many years ago. I can remember many first days, my mother was like so many others and would make us stand in front of the house, made me smile and pose for the first day picture. I hated that picture. It always seemed like such a lie. My mother would tell me how blessed I was to get to go to school and how awesome school would be. I didn’t agree. I thought it was a horrible thing they made me do. There were bullies, there was hard work, the only good thing about school was reading and recess. Recess was always a challenge because of the bullies. I would read for hours. When I was in trouble and sent to the principal’s office, I would sneak off to the library instead. I’d lay down in the corner and read a book. In the far back corner of the library behind the tables and chairs I could lay on the floor unnoticed and read books about American history, settling of the west, challenges of the pilgrims, and learn about things that were so foreign to me, but would slowly take place in my mind as I read the words. I discovered that for me learning was forming those words into a story that I could understand. As I grew older, I continued to love reading and had some teachers who helped to encourage a learning process that I continue to use today. They taught me that instead of sitting in a room looking out the window wishing I was someplace else, I could focus on something in a book that had potential for change, and that if I’d do that focus for a short period of time and then move around I’d have it in my mind forever. They taught me how to read something and remember it by placing it in my mind in the form of a story. Three teachers stand out to me most as having an impact on my life - Mrs. Yoder, my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Bailey, my seventh-grade teacher, and John King, our pastor. The thing that these teachers had in common was that they cared deeply about each one of the young people they were teaching. The second thing is that they never made empty promises. When they said we were going to do something, or they offered a reward for achieving a certain level they followed through. A third thing they had in common for me personally was that they believed in me and that I had potential. I wasn’t just a fidgety brat taking their time, but I was a young man who could achieve anything I set my mind to.
I share these stories today because this time of year reminds me of the need to take the time for those around us. Everyone has potential – potential for good, and potential for bad. Just like a field has the potential to raise a crop and the potential to grow nothing but weeds. It all depends on the seeds that are sown and the care that is given to the soil. We all have a choice in what we are going to do with the opportunities we are given. We don’t always make the right choice, but it’s never to late to start over. The Bible talks about dreaming dreams and living life. One of our forefathers talked about dreaming of a country where all persons are created equal, that we all are given the same opportunities in life. I believe that it needs to be rooted and grounded in God’s Word. That’s why Jesus said the greatest command is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. He was quoting from Deuteronomy 6 and he said the second command is to love your neighbor as yourself. Learning never stops.
I’d encourage you today to find two kinds of people to have in your life, those that teach you, and those that you teach. We all need input and output.