This Is My Prize?

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One of my Sunday school teachers (I think I was about 11) got an idea. Maybe if he had  a contest, the kids would be more involved in the lessons. So he made a grid – bring your Bible and lesson book (back when we had lesson books), do your lesson, and memorize your verse.

He promised that anyone who earned a certain number of points over the next three months would get a super, duper prize. We all could win and we all wanted to win.

Every week he talked about the super duper prizes and made us even more excited.

Finally the day came and most of us had earned enough points and he had wrapped the prizes in wrapping paper to make them extra special. As he handed them out. you could see the anticipation on our faces – mine included, I’m sure.

Eagerly I pulled back the string and undid the wrapping.

I looked at my prize and then I looked at my teacher.

I wanted to say, “Seriously?”

Inside the package was a set of my dad’s Kid’s Adventure Series Books. I remember quietly saying,”I think I got the wrong package.” I couldn’t believe he had given me my own dad’s books. But he assured me I had the right package.

“And they’re even autographed,” He told us proudly.

I opened one of the books. “Pastor Craig Massey. Philippians 1:21.”

I thought of home. I thought of the 100s of books we had in the storage closet. I thought of my own autographed set that said “To Lindy Lou, Love Dad.” After all, I was the author’s daughter.

And I wondered what that teacher was thinking. How hard would it have been for him to buy me a book by another author? Why did he think I would be excited about books my dad wrote (which I had actually read BEFORE they were published)

(Many of the other kids also already had the books. After all, my dad was their pastor and parents like kids to have good reading material – so they purchased them.)

I still don’t understand the man’s thinking, but I’ve often thought that it’s the way we sometimes treat the Bible … and teach our kids to treat the Bible, a book written by our Heavenly Father.

We give our kids their own copy, but we don’t think about whether or not they already have a copy. We don’t think about the value.  We don’t read it to them or encourage them to read it. They put it on their shelf or bookcase and then hunt for it the next time they need points to bring it to church. The Bible is as impersonal to them as those books in my prize package.They have no understanding that these are words written by their Heavenly Father. They are the real thing.

We need to teach them.

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
    and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for I delight in it. (Psalm 119:33-35)

Those books meant little to me because I had the real thing at home. Let’s teach our kids about the real thing.

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