A few months ago I began visiting a family in the community who had four children for a Bible club with songs, memory verses, the books of the Bible, and a lesson. It started with some visual aids but eventually I began using an open Bible, and working through either books of the Bible, or character studies.
yesterday afternoon one of them asked me “where is your Bible?” which was a strange question, but I told him it was in the front pocket of my bag. He proceeded to take it out, turn to the book of Esther, mark it with one of my bookmarks, and proclaim he was teaching the lesson.
He actually did a very good job of teaching a lesson (with review questions) and even got some help from his brothers and sister.
It was pretty neat watching this young man teach us a lesson that he’d recently learned in Sunday school. The deeper application for me though was just how much children pattern themselves after us.
- He took the Bible that I always used when teaching the lesson
- Turned to the passage first like I always do
- Marked it with a marker like I always do (wind turns the pages)
- Read along with the verse with his finger like I usually do
- Followed up with review questions like I always do
- And gave out “bible club dollars” like I always do
To be perfectly honest I was shocked at how much he patterned himself after me! After all, they only see me for around thirty-minutes at a time, and not every day of the week. But during that time, they are watching me very closely.
This is at the same time an incredible blessing, and a great responsibility
it is an incredible blessing because we can all have a strong influence on children’s lives. Many of them (particularly boys) are constantly looking for “role models” who can show them how an adult is supposed to act. Sadly today we don’t see as many positive role models as we used to, so this opportunity for influence is a precious gift.
Of course this is also a great responsibility because they are closely watching. If this young man paid that much attention to what I did with my Bible while teaching, it means he is studying intensely how I live my life. This means my testimony must be one of excellence in front of him.
What is a testimony of excellence? It is what Jerry Bridges calls “Striving for Holiness” in his book, “The Pursuit of Holiness“. In basic terms it means living a life centered on self-denial and self-discipline for God’s glory.
Practically a testimony of excellence would involve things like:
- Being organized, and detail oriented instead of procrastinating
- Living in a way that deserves respect, and expecting them to respect you
- Owning your mistakes
- Exhibiting self-control over your emotions
- and being willing to obey God when nobody else will
A testimony of excellence is very hard work…but it’s worth it
Because those who continually observe a testimony of excellence will develop their own testimony of excellence
Yesterday was a humbling experience for me. Its my prayer that with the Holy Spirits help, my testimony will do more than just teach the people of Barrouallie how to hold a Bible.