Reading, Writing, and…Theology?


“You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children” (Matt. 11:25 ESV).

Important lessons
Elementary school is where it all begins—where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Nothing you really think you know matters until you get to school and learn what the “real world” is all about.

I remember my first day of first grade. Barbara Roberts and I were sitting next to each other. For some long-forgotten reason I decided to push her. “Miss” Janie (actually Mrs. Janie) saw my indiscretion and promptly told me, “We don’t push people here.” I learned my lesson and life in first grade went on. Ready for day two.

If only the rest of life were that simple. If I always learned my lesson the first time around, I’d be much better off. Often, however, I have to be taught the same principle over and over before it finally sinks in. Without trying too hard, I can think of several very good examples of where this has happened in my life.

Stuck in a spiritual rut
Becoming a Christian is very similar to our school years. As new Christians we all start out as little children, only able to comprehend the most basic truths about God—that He created us, then provided salvation from our sin by becoming a man in Christ Jesus. It is only through study and the accumulation of many of life’s lessons that we grow in God and start to become what He wants us to be.

The problem is that many us never get past first or second grade in our spiritual lives. I know I’ve spent many years repeating the same spiritual grades over and over. By now I should probably be many years ahead—I think in a lot of ways I’m still stuck in elementary school, however.

Paul talks about this very problem in his letter to the church at Corinth. He writes, “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready” (1 Cor. 3:1-2 ESV).

Childlike faith is the answer
God obviously wants us to grow in Christ. I think the key to this growth is to come humbly to Him just as a child would.

When His disciples were arguing over who would be the greatest in Heaven, Jesus used a nearby child as an example: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3-4 ESV).

The innocence and fresh outlook of children is why the opening verse of this article rings true. God reveals His truths to those who are humble enough to set aside what they think they know and become like little children who are just beginning their quest for knowledge.

When you’re six or seven years old, you’re wide open to instruction. You don’t yet have the weight of a lifetime of worldly experiences jading your outlook on life. Children trust their parents and teachers because God made them that way out of necessity. As children, we could not survive if we didn’t have others to protect and instruct us.

Just call me Abba (“Daddy”)
Our spiritual lives are no different. If we don’t begin our Christian walk humbly as little children, it is impossible for us to grow into the kind of mature Christian God wants us to be. We can’t start at the top. It doesn’t work in our earthly lives, whether at school or at work, and it doesn’t work in our spiritual lives.

As Peter tells us, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2-3 ESV).

We must continue our journey—seeking God’s truth daily. Then one glorious day we’ll graduate with honors and walk not across a stage to receive a diploma, but on streets of gold hand in hand with Jesus our Savior.

In Support of Kids!


Recently I was chatting with an acquaintance of mine. He is one of those guys who has a lot of friends. Countless times I’ve heard him mention something about “this buddy of mine”.

My acquaintance (I’ll call him Bob for simplicity) and I were talking about divorce, as he went through a divorce recently and has a young daughter. We had been discussing child support in terms of the mandatory court-ordered kind, but our conversation had drifted more into supporting a child in general.

Bob mentioned something to the effect that a child is the gift that keeps on giving — meaning not something positive, but in the negative sense in that it is something you have to keep paying for. “I’ve only got 8 more years though, and then that’s it,” implying that his financial obligation would be over when his daughter turns 18. To be fair, I’m not sure if he merely meant the monthly child support payment he makes, but it came across to me that he meant his entire obligation would end at that time.

As if that weren’t bad enough, a few moments later in the conversation Bob referenced “one of my buddies who got this ol’ girl knocked up.” He said, “I told him not to marry her just because you got her pregnant. Just look at it as another payment.”

Of course, Bob was talking about the assumed child support payment the father would take on.

How can you look at a child as “just another payment”. Certainly, the father should take financial responsibility for the child, ensuring that his or her needs are adequately met (not to mention those of the mother).  However, true responsibility for the child goes far beyond buying diapers, clothes, or school supplies. Children need a father just as much as they need a mother.

According to statistics recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , almost 41% of all births in 2012 were by unwed mothers. More shocking, at least to me anyway, is the statistic from the U.S. Census Bureau that 62 percent of women aged 20-24 who gave birth in 2011 were unmarried.

These figures are hard to digest. No wonder kids these days are suffering — emotionally, intellectually, mentally, and physically.

I realize many people in the world believe that it is old-fashioned to insist that a child be reared with one mother and one father, especially given today’s wide range of acceptance for what is termed a “normal” family.

I hate to say it, but as long as our culture believes it is acceptable to ignore God’s plan for the family, we will all continue to suffer.  He defines what a family should be in many places throughout the Bible.

Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Mark 10: 9 expands  on the idea of husband and wife remaining together: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

I’m not naive. Certainly, I understand that there are unavoidable circumstances where children cannot have both parents — a married male and a female — to raise them. I have all the compassion and sympathy in the world for single moms (and dads), and I know quite a few of them. I also realize that children are capable of thriving in a less-than-ideal environment. But why put our kids at risk for a lifetime of struggle and hardship if it’s not necessary?

Summing up my argument, as much as it is possible we should strive to create the ideal type of home as God set forth for us — a matched set of married parents living together with their children (and, of course, a chocolate lab).