I once had a 6 year old piano student who progressed faster than any other that age. Her mother had limited her children to one extracurricular activity and this one chose piano. Because she was limited in how thinly she spread herself by a wise parent who knew that even children can suffer from stress, she regularly practiced more than I asked of her and could pick up on concepts that often had older students completely stumped. She had “trained her powers of discernment by constant practice.” Is it any wonder that I was ready to put her in a competition her first year, instead of waiting a year as I usually did? Is it any wonder that she won first place at her level at a state competition the first time she went?
When I was a child, people in the church were known for their Bible knowledge. What has happened to us? People who have been Christians for thirty or forty years cannot find their way through the Old Testament. They cannot quote standard proof-texts. When they try to recall those basic old stories, Jacob winds up married to Rebekah and Isaac to Rachel; Moses builds the ark and Daniel gets tossed into the fiery furnace. You hear them introducing the preacher as either the Pastor or THE Minister of the church, as if there were only supposed to be one person serving in God’s family. Hosea’s warning rings frighteningly in my ears--My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, 4:6.
When I was young, children actually came home from school every afternoon. Families actually ate their evening meals together. Television time and content was limited by parents who were home to supervise their children.
As we said last time, we apply the passage in Heb 5, what it takes to learn and grow, in every aspect of life BUT the one it was meant for. We know what it takes to get a promotion at work, or to keep a job. We know what it takes to pass a written driving test. We know what we must do if we hope to learn anything new, whether a sport or art or subject we are interested in. There is no excuse for not doing this with the subject we claim to be more important than any other in our lives.
I find myself wondering what would happen if we made it a point to limit our children’s activities like the mother of my young student, so that there would be time for family Bible studies every night. What if we turned that television off just one night a week, or turned it off one hour earlier every night so that we could study? As a teacher, I can tell you what would happen. We would KNOW God’s word, and with it in our hearts we could not help but BE better people.
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:10-16