One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.
I have asked myself this question: Is my life all about me? Am I living for myself, only looking for ways to make myself happy? Am I doing enough to help others?
I think about doing something like volunteering for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). Part of me wants to help them, but part of me wants to protect myself from knowing their pain.
Teaching in public schools for 22 years opened my eyes to the reality of some kids’ pain. Father is in prison, or mom is on drugs, this girl possibly sex-trafficked, these children come to school hungry, and on and on it goes.
One thing I will never forget is the girl in the Valvoline shirt. I spotted her in the cafeteria one day. What must it be like to be in Junior High and have nothing better to wear than a “Valvoline Oil Change” shirt and a shoddy skirt?
I remember how my mother always saw to it that I had nice clothes. I never remember being embarrassed by what I wore to school. How must this young teen feel?
Once I had a 12-year-old student who always had the shabbiest clothes and shoes. We felt so bad for her. One year, before the start of school someone bought her some cute new clothes and gave them to her anonymously. I don’t know what happened to them, but she never wore any of it. My guess is her mother sold them or took them back to the store for the money.
If we work among those in need, we may be more mindful of the suffering around us, in our own towns and cities. But if we are so blessed as to be removed from the presence of suffering, we may not be aware of the many needs all around us.
Albert Schweitzer said, “Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier. … Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”
There are children and adults all around us who need kindness. My prayer is that I will not shut out their cries for help, but be the one who hears Jesus’ command and obeys.
“…the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 ESV
Well, it’s something to think about as we head into the month of Thanks Giving. As we thank God for all our many blessings, may we be mindful of the ways we can love our “neighbors” in need.
With Love, Cindy
Do you want to know more about Jesus? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?
“How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.” Psalm 112:1-2 NLT Read full chapter
With Love, Cindy
Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?
Did you ever stop to think about how effortlessly children can memorize? Ask any toddler the names of the Paw Patrol Dogs or the members of Peppa Pig’s family. They know it all!
Annie at Seeking Divine Perspective commented that she can have trouble remembering Scripture she memorized as an adult, but she can easily spout off the ones she learned as a child. That has been my experience as well. I memorized the 23rd Psalm as a child and I’ve never forgotten it. (That was more than 60 years ago!)
My daughter, who is now 35, can recite many Scriptures she memorized as a child. (She also knows the whole movie, The Little Mermaid! But that’s another story!)
She told me that the thing that stands out to her the most are all the Bible songs she learned and the Christian TV shows for children such as Storybook (still available on Youtube). Many of those songs are Scripture verses and/or foundational truths. For example, Jesus Loves Me, The B-I-B-L-E, and many more.
Here’s the thing: If children have the ability to memorize easily and then remember it into adulthood, why aren’t we taking advantage of it?
Some Children’s Sunday School curriculum seems more interested in entertaining children than teaching them what they need to know. Some curriculum doesn’t include Scripture memorization at all.
Memorizing Bible verses can seem old fashioned to some, but it is more important than ever. And it can be a lot of fun when you add hand motions or sing the verse. What is “normal” in today’s world is becoming more and more contrary to Biblical teaching. Memorizing Scripture hides God’s Truths it in our heart.
God has clearly said how important it is to teach our children His Word.
“And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your foreheads as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
I have been reading through Proverbs and I thought, “I wish I would have memorized some of these Proverbs before I left home at 17 to attend college. Perhaps then, the Holy Spirit would have brought some of these verses to my mind before I made poor decisions.” Proverbs 2:12-15 stands out.
12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 13 who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.”
Memorizing Scripture enables us to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in our heart. Many times, God has spoken to me by bringing a specific Scripture to my mind.
The Holy Spirit has even used a Children’s Bible Song that I learned as a child to speak to my heart. In fact, that’s how my blog all began. As I lay in bed with Mononucleosis, I couldn’t get this little song out of my head:
This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine!
Hide it under a bushel?
No! I'm gonna let it shine.
That’s when I thought, “I’m a closet Christian!” I realized I never shared all the things God had done for me. And the idea to write a blog was born! You can read about it here.
More Scripture on Teaching Children
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Speaking of God’s words, Deuteronomy 11:19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
Matthew 18:5-6 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Psalm 78:2-4 for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.
The world is teaching our children many harmful ideas. May the Lord help us teach our children His ways. May He help us to protect their hearts and minds.
If Jesus was hungry, would you buy Him a meal? If Jesus was thirsty, would you give Him a glass of water? Of course you would!
Jesus explains that when we have compassion on “the least”, it is like we are doing it for Him. It is not more impressive to God to help important people. If you are teaching a Sunday School class to children, or if you are a school teacher, or if you are a mother, you are doing it “unto the least”.
There is no glory in teaching your own kids, no glory in teaching a children’s Sunday School class, no glory in being a school teacher, and no glory in caring for children with disabilities. But, Jesus said,
“… whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
It may not seem like you are serving Jesus when you care for the children in your midst, but you are. Compassion is a result of knowing Jesus. Just as compassion flows from Him, it will flow from you.
Understand then, that your service to the least is of great importance to God. Never think that caring for children is not important. It is! Whether they are the children in your church, children you don’t know, or your own children, it is very important to God.
This is just one aspect of this parable, but it is an important one. I know this parable doesn’t only apply to children, but I want to highlight it as an encouragement to everyone who devotes their time to teaching our children. Do it with all your heart, as unto the Lord. Consider Jesus’ words:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25: 34-40 NIV
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Psalm 127:3-5a NIV