Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Peter Langbroek
ÒAre you looking forward to school?Ó I'm sure you heard that question a hundred times last month, didn't you? I remember asking a girl that question once. She lowered her eyebrows and squeezed her nose and blurted, "NO!Ó

I don 't know all of you, but I'm sure some are like that girl; some not, or maybe you say ÒnoÓ but you're not quite serious. Some of you are in a Christian school, some in public school, and others of you are being home-schooled. As a Christian school teacher (I teach Grade 5 at Timothy Christian School in Chilliwack, BC) for 13 years, I have been able to fit students into three categories, and your response to schooling will be determined by which category you fit in.

First, there is the "School's Great Group." Those in this group love to learn and for them learning has either been an easy task or an exciting challenge. These children use high grades and workmanship as a goal to work towards. They have learned early that rewards are achieved by hard work. Even when young, they wish and dream of getting a "good job," of accomplishing much in life. Further, they know their parents are proud of them and that makes them feel good about themselves.

Second, there is the ÒSchoolÕs OK Group." I remember a boy I taught who fit this group well. He never complained. He did his work. But I knew and his parents knew he could do much better in grades and workmanship. He just did the least that was expected of him; not great, but fair. Those in this group work like robots. They do the work without questioning or imagination, without going that "extra mile" to do an awesome job.

Third, there is the "School's Boring Group." When I have a student like this, I look at him or her and think, Òthe desk is not made for him or her, nor is he or she made for the desk." Those in this group do not take to listening, reading, and writing very well. They'd rather play sports or build something. Recess and lunch hour are a long-awaited break for them. If it wasn't for P.E., Art or Science and Socials projects, they'd become very bored. Learning about such things as nouns, 1867, John A. MacDonald, and nuclear energy, have very little importance to them. "Let me do something!" they exclaim.

For each of you, I have some advice. Those in the "SchoolÕs Great Group"--don't just learn for yourself; don't just learn for the sake of learning. Seek to know God before anything else. Those in the "It's O.K. Group"--God has given you gifts to use to the fullest. Learning should not be robotic. Learning has meaning when you learn about God, His Word, and His works. And to those in the "School's Boring Group"--I do sympathize with you. In life, we will often have to do things we neither like nor understand. But remember, God created us with a mind as well as hands. When we seek to develop both our mind and our hands for the glory of God, we will be blessed. Do not neglect your mind; you'll be sorry.

I give you this advice to show you another group, a group that every kind of person can become a part of very well. Let me show this by picturing an ordinary boy--I'll call him Fred, in an ordinary school, on an ordinary day, with an ordinary teacher (let's pretend it's me).

During Science class, we read about the five types of volcanic eruptions. Fred was filling in the worksheet. He remembered the video we saw a few days ago. It filled him with awe at the awesome power of volcanoes. That God can send a gentle shower but also cause a volcano to burst out so much energy is awesome: Fred thought about that. He thought about Psalm 104: 31-33, which the class had to memorize for Friday: "The glory of the Lord shall endure forever: the Lord shall rejoice in His works. He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: He toucheth the hills, and they smoke. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." Fred, in his mind, hummed the tune of Psalter 287.

During Socials, everyone had to summarize yesterday's field trip to the Chilliwack Museum. There we listened to the curator use a map and slide-show to tell of a man who travelled by steamship from England to northern B.C. in search of gold. We learned of the tremendous hardships of travelling and the many disappointments he faced. He never did get rich, as he thought he would.

In class, we discussed how the province of British Columbia came into being from this event. It showed how, once again, God directs all of man's decision according to His plan. We then discussed Matthew 6: 19-21. Jesus tells us to lay up our treasures in heaven. Fred thought, "For all that gold, it's not worth it. Look what those men went through to get it. It didn't make any of them happy."

During Math, the children were discovering the patterns in multiplication. Since 9 is one less than ten, the multiples of nine follow this pattern: 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81, 90. Fred put up his hand. "I know. The digits all add up to 9. The ones digit add one till 5 (see 45) and then subtract by one {see 54}. Fred understood when I said, "God is a God of order. We can see God's wisdom when we memorize our multiplication tables. Without wisdom, there would be no math and no orderly universe.Ó

Fred is of another group which I encourage and promote all of us to be in. It's the "Discipleship Group." A disciple is one who learns from and imitates his teacher. The eleven disciples of Jesus w ere such men, and so are all the believers in Jesus Christ. True, impressionable, enjoyable, lasting learning, is only found in that group. Think of Jacob and Nathaniel as those who formed this group of people. Jacob, after he dreamed of a staircase reaching from earth to heaven with angels going up and down, woke up with an awesome fear. In that dream he heard God speak to him, and promise him that He would be his God, a God who wouldnÕt leave him or forsake him. There, in an ordinary place, among countless rocks, Jacob anointed a rock and called the place Bethel: Òhouse of God.Ó There he encountered God in an ordinary place.

Later, under the shade of a fig tree, Nathaniel heard Jesus say to him: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God descending and ascending upon the Son of manÓ (John 1: 51). Jesus said that He was the staircase Jacob dreamed of, to restore His people to the knowledge of God. Then and there, Nathaniel became Christ's disciple. He confessed, ÒRabbi [Teacher], thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of IsraelÓ (John 1: 50).

We must learn to know God. And to those who know God, He promises peace and joy in a world "full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11: 9)

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