I must begin with WOW. Just WOW. Sunday was a crazy awesome day in HopeKids! Our room was full in the most wonderful way. The first Sunday after kids return to school always provides a harvest of plenty…plenty of bodies, plenty of excitement, plenty of energy! A week of sitting and listening and giving their best little selves in a classroom…they needed a little space and time to be. Thank goodness for swings, slides, kickballs, and sunshine. Oh yeah, and mud. There was also mud. My apologies if your child wore evidence of that.
After we spent a few minutes being kids together, we returned to our room ready for adventure! Following God is always an adventure, isn’t it? (I’m certain I heard someone somewhere in the universe declare an Amen that rattled my walls.) Maybe it even feels a bit like walking the plank…trying to maintain balance, teetering on the edge of dropping deep into the shark-infested waters of popular culture?
We began our lesson by walking the plank. Everyone took a turn. We smiled and laughed and sang and cheered. Some took careful steps and others leaped across that plank! They were confident and sure-footed. Our prayer for them exactly, yes?
Lesson: Making the Wise Choice, Proverbs 2 & 3
Bottom Line: If you want to be wise, look before you leap.
I do wish I had a picture of our beautiful youth helper from Sunday. Anna Grace does a tremendous job illustrating our lessons in skit. She opened as Red Riding Hood, trying to make the wise choice about which path to take to poor, sick Grandma’s house. She knew she could take the straight path and make it there quickly, but there was another path, a crooked, winding path that promised some fun. You know the kind of thing…yummy berries, cool friends, cute boys. She knew the RIGHT choice, but it was a CHOICE after all. And in that word, there is much freedom.
Red asked the group which path she should take. And because they are wise and good (and answering the way they know they should – wink), they all emphatically directed her to the straight path. When someone else’s life is onstage and we are the audience, it’s easy to see clearly. Red, however, saw the straight path in front of her, she heard everyone’s direction, but she made her own choice. She chose the crooked path. Maybe you can relate? Maybe you wish someone had told you this long ago in the midst of your choices?
We left Red there, deep in the tangle of unwise choices, and moved to our life map.
The kids all gathered around the edges of our giant map (9 ft x 20 ft) eager to hear God’s Word. I think they were all a little worried about Red’s ending. We reviewed our Life App: Wisdom.
WISDOM is finding out what you should do and DOING IT. We read together from Proverbs 2 and learned that the Lord gives wisdom, “from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6) But of course, we are not always listening to the Lord, seeking his wisdom.
I asked the kids if they had ever read any Choose Your Own Adventure books. Do you remember those? (Former librarian side note: If your child hasn’t read these before, you should check some out from the library. They are fun for the whole family! There are even nonfiction versions where you get to choose your own adventure on the Titanic, etc.) We looked at our map and saw that in our lives, we get this glorious and frightening opportunity to choose OUR own adventures. There are many paths we can take, each leading to a treasure of its own.
First we examined the crooked path of unwise choices. And here’s the thing. These choices are usually normal, not super-over-the-top-big-deal-bad kinds of choices. They are things like choosing to go along with our friends when they are making fun of someone at school, or sneaking and doing something our parents have told us not to do just for a little bit, or kicking our brother or sister out when they desperately want to play with us. I saw several glances around the map at that one. Including from my own sweet children, of course.
This path is obviously wrong when we examine it from the periphery. However, when we dig in to the treasure at the end, we see that this path is oh-so enticing! You see, in that treasure box we find popularity and wealth and power and attention and worldly things that we desire. And this treasure is a dangerous thing, indeed.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Picture your heart buried in this box, deep in greed and pride and envy. Ugh. This is not the end we would choose. But when we set off on our adventure, the end is out of focus and indistinct. We only see the shine.
But the good news is JESUS! Of course, of course! And more good news is that we can choose to step off that wicked path at any moment. The straight path is not far away. It’s a small step. It’s one choice: Jesus. When we are lost and confused and searching, Jesus is ready. Ready to place his arm around our waists, inviting us tuck into his side and rest our heads on his shoulder. “Oh, ye who are weary…” One of my favorite memory verses growing up may have been one of yours, too. Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
HE will make my paths straight. He will take my wrongs and make them right. He will come to me again and again and again. Always. And his treasure is exactly where I want my heart.
It may not look glamorous on the outside…it’s hard to compete with the glamour of worldly ways. But inside is where I want to bury my heart. In humility, in truthfulness, generosity, and kindness. Sigh.
In choosing we are free. Free to go the wrong way, free to try and fail again and again…
…and free to change the path we’ve chosen. That is one beautiful freedom.
My prayer for our kids this week is that they Choose a Wise Adventure. And that they revel in it! That they celebrate and find joy and deep friendship and a life that is full.
Thank you for sharing your treasures with me each week.