A while back someone shared a conversation they had with an older youth in their church. When asked why they didn’t attend Sunday school, the youth responded, saying, “I did attend for a number of years, but I got tired of it so I don’t go anymore.” It struck me that this is exactly what I have often heard from adults when asked the same question. Perhaps this youth is learning from their example; if they don’t attend, why should he? Time does not allow me to share the many excuses I have heard for not attending Sunday school. They generally seem centered around a belief that they don’t need it, usually expressing that they either don’t get anything out of it or they’ve learned all they need to know. My experience has been that not only children and youth, but many adults as well do not know even the basic stories and teachings contained in the Bible. The truth is that many people today simply don’t see the Bible or its teachings as relevant to their lives. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
From the very beginning God has taught us how to live in a right relationship with Him and with each other. He has given us rules, instructions and examples to live by out of love for us, and for our sake and wellbeing. He has commanded that we teach what He has given us to our children and children’s children (grandchildren), so that they also might live in a right relationship with Him and each other. After giving His people through Moses the Ten Commandments, the Lord instructed us, saying, “And these words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). What God is saying is that it is imperative that we pass on His teachings from one generation to the next. When we do so, we stay in a right relationship with the Lord and with each other. When we fail to do so, we will find that we fall again into the slavery of sin and death born out of the self-centered life that prevails in the absence of a God-centered life. The more we take God out of our life and our society the more corrupt and unhappy our lives and our world become. We see vivid examples of this today all around us. We have allowed prayer to be taken out of schools, and have witnessed a systematic separation of God from all public places. In God’s absence we have seen both our children and our society deteriorate before our eyes, and the line which separates what is right and wrong blurred so that almost anything today seems acceptable.
Have we forgotten the truth contained in Proverbs 22:6, which states: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” The truth is that if we teach our children and youth the lessons of the Bible it will make an eternal difference. They will not only gain a more peaceful and happier life on earth, but a life in paradise with God that will last forever.
Jesus spent most of His time teaching the crowds, and teaching His disciples so that they would be prepared to teach. He “taught” us the Beatitudes so that we would know how to live a “blessed” life. He taught by word and example. And at the end of His ministry on earth He commanded His disciples, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus even promised to send us the Holy Spirit, saying, “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26b).
If you are wondering why we are trying so hard to get more people, regardless of age, to participate in Sunday school, it is because we need to learn the teachings of faith. We are finite creatures learning lessons from our infinite Lord. Only through a renewed effort in our learning and teaching will we be both blessed and a blessing to those who follow us. God is depending on us to learn and teach.
Your fellow servant in Christ,