“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
This week we as a church have the honor and the privilege to host Vacation Bible School. For those of us who grew up in the church, VBS may bring back fond memories of playing with new friends, dancing, singing songs, and doing crafts, all while learning some of the foundational stories of our Christian faith. And in the process, the children are having a lot of fun – that’s all part of the goal – to reach child and help make a positive difference in his or her life.
There are so many wonderful things that children can learn as they become familiar, as they are doing this week, with Moses and the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, the Resurrection of Jesus, and the crossing over of the Israelites into the Promised Land.
Our Christian heritage, and especially Scripture – both Old and New Testament – teaches children and adults alike what good character looks like. We see that in the lives of Moses and Joshua, both of whom were strong leaders with a heart for God as well as for people.
In the death and resurrection of Jesus we see a picture of our Savior, who exemplified the values, behavior, and character that all who claim His name should also strive to display. Like Moses and Joshua before Him, Jesus modeled strong leadership, but He did it in a way that emphasized the fact that He had come in order to serve, and not to be served.
Jesus modeled and taught all of the traits that have classically been referred to as virtues, such as compassion, consideration, courage, determination, fairness, giving, love, tolerance – the list is extensive, as it encompasses the entire spectrum of behaviors that are in the best interest of the whole community.
Contemporary psychologists point to our values and beliefs as the source from which all of our actions flow. In other words, our behavior in life largely results from the things that are most important to us, as well as the things that we hold to be true.
Psychologists and child development experts alike recognize the fact that our values and beliefs begin to form very early in life, and by the age of five our personality is fairly well developed. That is not at all to say that we cannot change later on; transformation is a consistently observed fact of life for those who learn of Jesus’ teachings, and then begin to put them into practice within their own lives.
This has been one of many proofs of the validity of Christian faith, from the time that Jesus walked the streets of Galilee and Jerusalem, on down through history to today. “Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Teaching children the foundation of our faith is one of the most important things that we do as a church, in that it provides them with many of the core values that they will need, all throughout their lives.
In His peace,
Pastor John Frank ><>