The sound of the music was powerful and holy, and my spirit soared to that place of peace and awe, thankful for the heartfelt worship of the believers all around me. My eyes landed on a young man with hands lifted in worship. I noticed him because he was college-aged and no doubt the youngest one at the retreat, and because his worship was so heartfelt and pure.
Later, he turned and said, “Hi, my name is Jeremy White.” Suddenly, I looked into his eyes, and I could see a little 6-year-old boy.
“Are you from Memphis?” I asked.
“Yes, I am,” he replied.
“Did you go to Christ Methodist Day School?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Jeremy, I’m Miss Williams! I was your first-grade teacher!”
Suddenly he could see a 23-year-old. We had a great reunion! It felt holy because I was seeing an answer to prayer right before my eyes. I had taught him and my other students all I could about reading, writing and arithmetic. Most importantly, I taught them the Word of God.
You see, I believe that biblical education reaps the most benefit and yields the greatest return on our investment. It is only the Word of God that will never return void, as stated in Isaiah 55:10–11:
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Biblical education changes the trajectory of the lives of children and can transform their mind, spirit, character and family. Coupled with prayer, biblical education can transform future generations.
Just recently, one of my grown children called to tell me that she had been reading in Proverbs and had come across the familiar words of Chapter 22, Verse 6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
She declared, “Mom, when I read that, I realized something. I realized that because you trained us in the Word of God, I can’t depart from it — I won’t depart from it.”
Those words were music to my ears and brought tears to my eyes. That does not mean, of course, that our children will never take a detour. But I believe with all my heart that His Word is true and will not return void in their lives. Below is a letter I wrote to my children several years ago that summarizes my thoughts on biblical education.
My dear children,
If I could compile the whole of motherly instruction into just one thing, what would it be? If I could say something that would cover all the wisdom, protection and instruction that I have only about 18 short years to give, what would I say?
Many things come to mind — the Golden Rule tops the list: Treat others the way you want to be treated. But there is always much more. Like, what to do when someone makes fun of you, or when you are confronted with temptation, or the importance of always doing your best, or having good manners, or looking someone in the eye when you speak to them, or why you shouldn’t say “ain’t” or why you should help others in need…
I want you to learn, earlier than I did, to enjoy God’s creation, to learn about literature and art, to learn about other languages and cultures. I want you to be strong and courageous, to stand up for truth. I want you to have fun, and not be too serious; to get dirty sometimes, but then help clean up the mess. I want you to feel the love of family and friends and to savor and enjoy it — to appreciate the joy of it while it is there to enjoy, not waiting until it is gone to realize the incredible significance of the gift.
I want you to see each day as a gift: a chance to make life better, a chance to learn and grow, a chance to serve others, but mostly, a chance to serve God and glorify Him.
There is so much I want you to see and understand, now, not when you’ve had to learn by reaping the consequences of bad choices, or the pain of looking in the wrong direction. But God sometimes will use those difficult things in our lives as the best teachers.
But today, if I could combine it all into just one thing, I guess that one thing would be … look to Jesus.
That statement alone covers it all: ethics and manners, comfort and strength, joy and grace, example and beauty.
Look to Jesus…
When you don’t know who to follow, what to do, what to wear, how to succeed, He will give you wisdom and strength, for you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Look to Jesus…
When you are hurt, alone, angry, frustrated or sad … for He will give you the Comforter and the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23).
Look to Jesus…
As the Creator of this beautiful world, and your beautiful self, as the Prince of Peace and the Blessed Controller of all things, as Your Mighty God, Savior, Lord, Teacher and Best Friend.
Look to Jesus…
As the only One who can truly keep His Word to never leave you nor forsake you.
You have been bought with a great price, the blood of the King of Kings. Live each day knowing who you are, and Whose you are. Remember this one thing: Look to Jesus.
I love you,
A parent, writer and former teacher, Sara W. Berry has authored and co-authored many children’s books and curriculums, most recently “Trackers of Truth” released by Seedbed Kids. In her writings, Berry draws on her experience of more than 25 years leading, teaching and parenting to pull together the best approaches, activities, mnemonics and tools to communicate the important message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She received a Bachelor of Science in education from Millsaps College, and she has been the recipient of numerous education and leadership awards.