Empower the children! (part 1 of 2)

"Empower the children!" (Jesus teaching Sermon on the Mount)

In our Vacation Bible Schools, we are simply under-teachers. Jesus is the Master Teacher. He empowers us so that we can empower the children.

Who is the teacher at your Vacation Bible School? Who is the VBS leader? Who is the ultimate director? Who is in charge of your Vacation Bible School?

I hope at some point you said, “God is!” Really, we are simply under-teachers and He is the Master Teacher. He empowers us so that we can empower the children.

In 1 Corinthians 3, there is an interesting verse. It ends like this: “For all things are yours.” Have you heard that one?

All things in context

Like almost anything, it can be slightly misleading when you take it out of context. If someone told you that “all” was yours, you would naturally consider the context of the situation before assuming what “all” meant.

For example, imagine you were the last one in the kitchen after dinner and, standing by the remaining pie in the dish, someone said to you, “It’s all yours!” You would assume they meant the pie, right?

You would not claim they had just given you the whole kitchen… or the house… or the whole property.

But what if you were standing atop a hill in the midst of your father’s lovely 200-acre farmland and with a sweeping motion of his strong arm, your aging father said to you, “It’s all yours!” You would not assume he meant the pie then, would you!

Of course not! You would know he meant the farm. And you would do well to humbly accept it.

All things from God

It is no different when reading and understanding God’s Word.

We are simply under-teachers. Jesus is the Master Teacher. He empowers us so that we can empower the children.

When we read “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” what do we think? Do we assume that He has just given us free reign to do whatever we please? Or that if I just call on His strength, I become some sort of bionic superwoman? “Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!”

Of course not. Paul is talking about the peace God gives him even in trial. He is talking about the Father’s power to keep us, where His hand has led us.

But it seems that is the same sort of mistake many make in interpreting 1 Corinthians 3:21.

“For all things are yours.” Really? Cool! You mean I can do whatever I want now with this awesome world You made, Father? (After all, the next verse does say “the world” is mine. As a matter of fact it names off several apostles – Paul, Apollos, Cephas – so really God has given me power over my brethren, too, right?)

Whoa, there! Hold up a minute! We need a little more context here.

If we read this verse in context of the entire chapter (and even the two previous chapters), especially the several verses just before it, we see that the Lord has promised to give us all wisdom in spiritual things.

That is a pretty awesome promise, by the way.

Consider a couple more verses.

“Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1Corinthians 1:30

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” 2 Peter 1:3

He wants each one of us – and that definitely includes the children in your Vacation Bible School – to know Him personally in a very special way. Through that experience, we will be empowered to shine as lights in a dark world! (Stay tuned for a post specifically about the Holy Spirit coming soon!)

The gift is ours, but we must receive it

History tells us that that there have been times (and even churches) in which the searching of the Bible was discouraged – even forbidden. People were told they could not understand God’s Holy Word.

Forget Vacation Bible School; if you wanted to so much as read a page of the Bible, you had better do so secretly, and even then be prepared to give your life for the privilege.

Most did not even try.

Of course, some did, and history bears the names of many humble, yet bold, empowered men: Martin Luther, John Huss, John Wycliffe… and so many more, both named and un-named in the books of our day, yet faithfully recorded in the books of Heaven.

Today, especially in the United States, the Bible is very freely available. Sure it has its opponents, but nobody forbids you to read. Virtually anybody can get a Bible if they want it bad enough; some are even handed out free. (Bible Senders is one online ministry I recently learned about. They seem to be most active on Facebook.)

Yet how many still believe that they cannot understand the precious truths in the Bible? How many rely on pastors, teachers, husbands, friends… anybody but God Himself, for the interpretation?

Yet, where does our power come from?

The real secret to power is a dependence upon God for all things. We must appreciate His awesome gift. We must accept it. We must depend on it.

That is the vital truth that we must teach the children. This is how we – and they – will be empowered.

Check back next week as we talk more about empowering the children at Vacation Bible School. This is where it gets really exciting! 🙂

~ YOUR TURN: What are some ways that we take God’s Word for granted? What things could we do in our own lives that could also empower the children in our Vacation Bible Schools? Let’s talk about it in the comments! ~

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Image credit: “The Sermon on the Mount” by Carl Heinrich Bloch via Wikipedia.


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