Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Who, Me?

Noah's Ark cartoon
image credit: Christian Clipart
It's been said that Sunday School programs are part of the reason that kids and young adults are leaving the church.  Part of the reason is that, all too often, children are learning "Bible stories" rather than history, and they're not learning how to connect the Bible to the real world.  And when we depict Noah's Ark (for example) in a cartoonish way, it seems no more realistic than If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

The study isn't universally condemning Sunday school, nor am I.  And that last point is a whole other topic.  But I know from my own experience that learning Bible stories in context has made a tremendous difference in my understanding.  This weekend, though, my husband and I were talking about another benefit of learning Bible stories in context:  when we learn more about the people in the stories, we see them as real people rather than one-dimensional characters.

We've all heard about the Lord, through Moses, parting the Red Sea, but unless we read the whole account, we might think that Moses was a one-dimensional character.  We might not realize that, when God came to Moses and said, "So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt," Moses didn't jump at the opportunity.  His first response was along the lines of "Who, me?"  I can almost imagine him looking around to see who the Lord was addressing.  He asked, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"  Then he kept asking "What if" questions and thinking of reasons that he probably wasn't the right man for the job.

Even after the Lord had demonstrated His faithfulness over and over, Moses still messed up.  When he struck a rock with his staff and water flowed out, he failed to give God the glory.  We may look back and wonder how he could do that, but I know I make my own share of poor decisions, too.
image credit: Photobucket user appleblossom_07
It's not just Moses.  David, although he was a great king and a man after God's own heart, still sinned and schemed to conceal his sin.  The apostle Paul--who was converted from someone who persecuted Christians into one who spread the Gospel far and wide--is open about his struggles and imperfections.  There are more examples, but these are the ones that first come to my mind.

All of these people, though imperfect and weak, were used by God to do great things.  I'm encouraged by that, because it helps me understand that--even though I'm imperfect and weak--God can use me to do something worthwhile, too.  In fact, the Bible tells us that "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  It's pretty amazing not only to think that can God use me for something good, but also to know that He has prepared good works for me to do.  For me!  How can I turn down that opportunity?

iFellowship

I'm linking up to Tuesdays Unwrapped, because this opportunity is nothing less than a gift.

8 comments :

  1. God definitely uses you to uplift and encourage me. You are so right, somehow adults began to think that children cannot understand the fullness of the Bible but yet, Jesus told the disciples to "become as a little child" (paraphrasing here). Jesus realized that children had the ability to understand spiritual things so we ought to realize that as well.

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  2. You have such an amazing way of writing and putting things out that uplift! I love he has planned for me to good, it makes me smile and keep putting it in his hands. :)

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  3. Amen!! I started the girls on simple Bibles that were story Bible's when they were little and advanced to more advanced story Bibles to condensed kid's Bibles and now we only read the Bible straight. Right now we are working on reading straight through even the icky parts that a parent really doesn't want to explain.

    People are always amazed at what they know about the Bible - it is constant exposure and God's mercy that teach them as much as they know.

    BTW I am reading (rather than using it as a devotional as it is intended) a really neat book about Women of the Bible: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/210755.Women_of_the_Bible

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  4. Thanks for stopping by today! I agree that it is such a gift to be a part of the work God does...the fact that He lets us stick our hands in His awesome works...is nothing short of amazing!!

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  5. Melissa- I am a children's ministry director and you have hit on an important subject. One story bible that I really like is the Jesus Storybook Bible. It ties the stories of the Bible to the Big God Story of redemption.

    I think it is important for kids to know not only what the Bible says--but what each part teaches us about God. I want the kids in our church to have a relationship with God--and knowing about Him through the Bible allows them to trust Him more.

    And you are right, the fact that God chooses to use even me is a gift indeed.

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  6. I agree -- how can you turn down such an opportunity! That's why I started writing...and He found a way to use it. He amazes me every day. I'm so glad I'm "following" you -- I had visited from time to time, but missed so much good stuff on your blog till now!

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  7. Making the bible and its stories applicable in our daily lives is something we should all strive for.

    What a great post. Such a good reminder.
    Be blessed,
    Laura
    "Open the Door To Your Fear"

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  8. I love this post and stopped by from (in)courage.

    I just started reading the One Year Chronological Bible in May (late starter! lol) and understand what you mean about learning small snippets of the Bible as "stories." When I was a child I learned the same "stories" over and over and now am amazed while reading about David in the OT that he was a flawed human yet once repented, he was used for God's glory and as an example for all future kings of Israel.

    Yes, God can use a flawed human just like me too! Amen!

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