Every morning, all three children read from their Bibles. Steven has a Bible story book to help him become familiar with the stories of the Bible, and the girls read the same “read through the Bible” passages that Doug and I read. The girls are asked to jot down their observations and how they think they should apply what they’ve read to their own spiritual growth. Then, most days as we are finishing our noon meal, we discuss the day’s reading. Steven tells us about the Bible story he read, and then the rest of us discuss our reading, with him sitting there listening. Although a lot of our discussions are still over his head, he really does pay attention.
One day we were discussing Psalm 51. This particular Psalm was written by King David after his sin with Bathsheba. It was his song of repentance and plea for restoration. As we discussed Psalm and accompanying story, Steven piped up and informed us that David didn’t really need to ask for forgiveness because God had already forgiven him.
Now, obviously, we had to correct some bad deductive reasoning on Steven’s part. We discussed with him and the girls the need to always ask for forgiveness. It is a necessary step in acknowledging that we were wrong and God was (and always is) right. His forgiveness is always there. But, we must receive it and walk in it. So, we ask. And when we ask, He gives.
But, as we explained all of this to Steven, it occurred to me that he knew enough to make that statement. I thought of the brief mention of Apollos in Acts 18:24-27. Apollos showed up in Ephesus one day, passionately preaching about Jesus. The problem was that he didn’t know about Jesus’ death and resurrection. He only knew of the teachings of John the Baptist. So, Aquila and Priscilla, friends and coworkers of Paul, took Apollos under their wing and taught him a fuller and more accurate picture of the gospel. He excitedly took that new knowledge and continued preaching passionately.
A couple of things really impacted me through all of this. First of all, my five-year-old son was getting it. We so often relegate our children to the learning of simple truths. We stick them in children’s church instead of taking them to “big church” with us. We dismiss them from the table when we are having conversations that we don’t think they’ll understand. We give them portions of Bible verses, simplified in all ways, to memorize instead of encouraging them to memorize the whole verse. In the process we entertain them and keep them happy, but what do we truly teach them? If we only teach them at their current level, when will their current level ever deepen?
We have to challenge our children. We must be willing to stretch their minds in every way, encouraging them to grow in ways they’ve never contemplated before. There is so much all three of my children don’t understand. But, if I introduce those concepts to them now, then they will be mulling around in their minds. When the time comes for them to understand, the truths will already be familiar and the process will be natural. If I wait until I think they’re ready to understand before I even begin introducing them to a concept, how much harder will it be for them to grasp the truth?
That’s definitely a thought and a lesson for me as a parent (and for any of us who are parents, grandparents, or teachers of children). But, what about us? Is there something here for us as growing adults? I think so!
So often we hide behind what we don’t know. We want to wait until we learn more. We are afraid to have a discussion about spiritual and Scriptural things because we might not know enough to keep up. We are afraid to teach because we might make a mistake. We are afraid to step out in obedience because we only know a portion of what we are supposed to do.
What if we were to be bold like Steven and Apollos? What if we were to take what we know, step out in it, and trust God to handle the rest? He will do it! First, if we’re trusting Him, He’ll keep us from causing harm with what we do not know. Secondly, He will make sure we learn as we go.