Janet has been looking for some way to volunteer and at the same time fulfill her love of being involved with young children. Back when we were dating, and then after we got married, Janet did her student teaching, the completion of her degree in elementary education, even though she never really taught in the classroom. When I was in seminary, she actually worked as a teacher’s aide in a special needs class for several years – that really helped out as I was completing my Masters in Divinity.
Anyway, fast forward 10 years and Janet has decided to assist our daughter, Kristin, who writes curriculum and leads the younger generation of children at Zionsville Presbyterian Church, near Carmel in the neighboring suburb of Zionsville. With Kristin’s various medical challenges, as well as raising three boys, there just isn’t enough time in the day for all the things she is responsible for and Janet misses the interaction with doing things for the young kids. So… Janet decided she would take charge of the craft portion of the Sunday school lessons at ZPC and make sure that the materials were ready and cut to size each week – in anticipation of the teachers directing the students in how to assemble the craft project for the week.
That brings us to the triangles. Next week, the kids are making owls to go with their study of God’s wisdom – the fact that He knows everything (omniscient). So, Janet is using paper bag bodies and various cuts of construction paper for the wings, head and other parts of the owls. The children will glue all the parts together and bring their projects home to be put on the refrigerator, just like we all used to do 50 or 60 years ago. Some things never change!
One of the instructions calls for right triangles (remember those?) to be used for the wings and an equilateral triangle to be used for the owl’s head. Now I do remember what those are, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to make one 6″ on each side. In fact, I kind of feel a little bit inept this evening as I admit the hard time I had with helping Janet on this. So I went out on the internet and found a video on how to make equilateral triangles (all sides of equal length). The secret is to use an old fashioned compass, which I have, to make the construction easier. So now I am good to go… But it brought up an important thought about the past.
There was a day, back in grammar school, when my classmates and I could have done this assignment in a heartbeat. But after years of not using the information I learned way back when, I was unable how to recall doing the task at hand. I just didn’t remember. My grammar school friends who are reading this tonight are probably laughing about now, but truth is truth. I had no idea, other than guess, as to how to make the triangle heads for these owls…
But the lesson tonight comes from this trouble. When we don’t use the things that we have learned, we can grow rusty and forget the things that were so easy for us in the past. It’s the same way with our study of the Bible and the verses that we used to memorize so easily. Many of us lead hectic lives and the things we shouldn’t give up, such as prayer and study, are the very things we let go of first. Pretty soon, we are out of practice and from there it is a short step to get sideways with God.
Our verse for the evening is from a book written by Solomon, the son of David. He was thought to be the wisest man in the world, in fact, who ever lived, and this particular book is devoted to his writings. We are told, in Ecclesiastes 1:13, “I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men!” That’s great information for us – we should likewise devote ourselves to the study of God’s word. My encouragement tonight is that God expects us to be in relationship with Him and to keep up our study of His word. My prayer is that by continuing to read the Bible and asking the Holy Spirit for divine enlightenment, we may grow closer to God, and to each other, in the process. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…