So I'm driving the long 30 minute drive to VBS last week and something makes me think of this whole bible study thing, and how this is not the season for it, and how someday it will be, but how now - as I told Lisa - my first priority is my family. And the mountains of laundry that they accumulate. But some day, some day, I will get to lead my bible study.
As I am pondering all this, I glance in the rear view mirror at the four little souls in the four car seats behind me, singing along to their CD. Then the silent but deafening voice of the Lord whispers to me, You are their bible study.
I think, yes, I am. I know this. I know that after years of teaching other young women and other people's children, my job right now is to teach my own little ones. And what a blessing that is! They have learned so much!
I begin to think about all the Scripture they already know, between Seeds and the book that we use, not to mention what they learn at Sunday School and VBS to which I so diligently take them. Those tiny little kids already have so much scripture hidden in their hearts...I guess I am doing okay at leading this particular bible study!
My heart rejoices at this. My heart even gets a tiny bit - just a tiny bit - of the P word going. You know the P word. The one that rhymes with bride.
And then the Lord whispers, that's not what I'm talking about. You are their bible study.
Immediately a flashback: the previous morning, when Shepherd had left out a screwdriver. A tool, which he has been told a thousand times is not a toy. A tool that he had retrieved from the toolbox in the garage that he has been told a thousand times he is not to touch. A tool that he had left on the couch, and his baby brother had gotten, and was chewing on when he fell into the couch. The tool that caused Ingram's lip to bleed. The tool that caused me to panic when I saw the blood, imagining that the baby had stabbed the inside of his mouth with the screwdriver.
The tool that caused me to completely and utterly lose my temper, to yell loudly at my child until he sobbed his apology, the tool that hardened my heart even as I hugged him and lied to him and told him that he was forgiven.
You are their bible study.
My child can say from memory Proverbs 15:1 , A soft answer turns away wrath. He can also recite Psalm 34:13, Keep your tongue from evil.
How many times have I quoted to his sister Ephesians 4:26, In your anger do not sin.
I have taught them to forgive one another seventy times seventy.
Yet I negated every one of those bible teachings in five minutes one Tuesday morning.
You are their bible study.
How much easier would it be to just lead a group bible study!
I could prepare for you a wonderful lesson on Philippians 2 about putting others above yourself. Then if on the drive home I refuse to let someone cut into my lane of traffic, you'll never know.
I could research and teach you what the original Greek text of Ephesians 5 says, then come home and chew out my husband for not taking out the trash while I was gone, and you'll never know.
I could give you a wonderful exegesis regarding exactly what God meant when he said "Thou shall not steal." And if the next morning, the teenager at the grocery store charges me for regular apples rather than the more expensive organic ones and I don't correct him, you'll never know.
But if I tell my children that I love God and seek to obey him, and then dishonor their own grandmother with my tongue, they will learn more from my hypocrisy than from the Word.
If in my anger I choose to punish instead of to discipline, then bible lesson for that day will be on vengeance, not grace.
If I teach them to do all things without complaining and disputing - Philippians 2:14, another one they can rattle off - yet constantly gripe about having to clean up their messes, then my lesson for the day is selfishness, not servanthood.
I am their bible study.
I am not saying that the Holy Spirit will not and does not work on their hearts in spite of my actions. I am well aware that the double edged sword that is the Word of God is a million times more powerful than my sin.
But, oh, dear Jesus, do my actions sometimes cause the Holy Spirit to have to work harder? Are there days when the Lord must work around me, instead of with me??
Oh Lord, forgive me and help me!
Remind me to practice what I teach!
For this I have been trained!!