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FIRST-PERSON: Telling the next generation


“Are you serious?” I nearly shrieked. “Surely there is someone else, someone better.” My mind was blown.

An assistant position had come open in the youth Sunday School class and my beloved thought I would be a good fit. That was me a long time ago; I hadn’t taught youth in 20 years. I felt old. Sarah and Elizabeth old.

Plus, I already had an obligation: Bible study at the jail. It was at that same time. I didn’t see how it would work.

My prayer each day is for the Lord to use me. He frequently answers in off-the-wall ways that never entered my mind. I want to be in His will and do NOT want to be swallowed by a whale/fish. While I do love the middle and high schoolers at church, I was scared.

After prayer and contemplation, I agreed – for a period – to be the assistant. It just so happens that the jail Bible study was changed without my asking to 7 a.m. That left plenty of time to get back for class.

I waded into the Sunday School pool doing more listening than speaking. When it was my first time to teach, I contacted two of my favorite Sunday Schoolers from the 1990s: Daniel Lucas and Kevin Naranjo. I needed them to pray. They promised they would. No one surrendered to full-time ministry, but we got through it.

Several months have passed. The main teacher moved to another county. Now I teach and have an assistant. It’s been different and the neatest thing at the same time. My heart is heavy for these 12-18-year-olds. As you might know, there is a high percentage of teenagers who drop out of church after graduation. I pray none of ours will. 

This opportunity has connected us in an unexpected way. As their pastor’s wife, I used to speak to them in passing and prayed blessings for their families. That has changed. They are now deeply entrenched in my heart. I want so many good things for them: to love God’s Word, to seek Him and follow His ways, etc.

We recently studied about Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they navigated the pagan land of Babylon. Talk about true stories that totally apply to today! For the last few weeks, we have been digging into the story of Noah and the ark. There are so many good parts! Our kids know that Noah walked with God when no one else did. That he faithfully did everything God told him to do. I want the same for them.

If I pay attention to God’s Word, I will be reminded that He has a history of using not-so-spring chickens: Moses was 80 when he led the Israelites out of Egypt. Sarah was 90 when she bore Isaac. (Don’t want to be in that club.) At the ripe old age of 85, Caleb was still ready to fight the giant Anakites (Joshua 14). Elizabeth, in her old age, was a blessing to the much younger Mary.

I’m thankful that God can still use someone old-er to do something new. Psalm 78:4 is a new favorite Bible verse: “We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about His power and His mighty wonders.” That’s what I want to do!