Last Sunday I had the opportunity to teach one of our JK-Grade 1 Sunday School classes at church – something I haven’t done in a long time, and I was REALLY nervous about it! Fortunately I’m somewhat used to teaching that age, since JJ is right in that class, but I really had to pray about how it was all going to come together – and out of my mouth. And God delivered, in so many ways, and in ways that the lesson (which both boys learned in their separate classes) has continued being taught and learned throughout the week.
We were in Luke 14:25-33, talking about the Cost of Discipleship, where Jesus had all these people following after him – some because they wanted to see miracles, some because they wanted food, and some because they wanted to be healed. Very few actually wanted to be a true follower. So Jesus stops and lays it out on the table for them – you want to follow me? Here’s what it’s going to take. Are you truly ready for it? You’d better think it through first.
1. You need to love me more than anyone or anything else. Family, friends, entertainment, activities. Christ first.
2. You need to bear your cross. It’s going to be tough – you’re going to have to make decisions that are not popular or may put you in a place of ridicule.
3. You need to count the cost. Really examine Christ’s life, what he went through is what you can expect to come your way. Does a man start building without having first laid out all the plans and making sure he has what it takes to complete the job? Or does a king blindly go out after another king with twice as many soldiers as he and expect he can defeat him? Calculate carefully – are you ready to commit for the whole way?
As I was teaching, I was really aprehensive as to how the kids would receive it – it seems so negative, such a difficult thing for little ears and young hearts to hear. But I wish someone had told me when I was young what I could expect as a follow of Christ. As a young adult I read the Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and it very nearly changed my life and approach to the Christian walk.
There were two messages in this lesson really – one was knowing what it really means to be a follower of Christ. The other is to stop and think before you do things. I chose not to focus on this one as much, though other teachers may have. And we had an opportunity to come back to this example this week too (I love it when the lesson keeps on teaching without my even trying! :D).
Both boys had been in a situation where someone told them to do something they knew they probably shouldn’t have, yet they chose to do it anyway. When I discovered what had happened, I was able to bring it back to what they’d learned on Sunday – did they know what they were being asked to do was wrong? Did they choose right? Did they think it through before they did it?
Jesus never told us this life as a believer would be easy.
He doesn’t want us to walk blindly into faith, following after him, not knowing what we’re doing. He wants us to think through what following him really means, what it could cost us, and make the decision knowing fully well what might lie ahead. God gave us brains and wisdom from his word to be used wisely and for his glory – let’s encourage our little ones with the understanding of what following Christ requires of us and helping them to think it through before they do!