I saw this pin on Pinterest (a VERY reliable source) that quotes Albert Einstein in saying, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
And I really like this quote because I see this challenge every week when I teach a bible lesson to my Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders in Awana. I have to take what I know and love about depravity, election, propitiation, and the metanarrative of Scripture and boil it down to truth that their baby teeth can chew.
Last week was a lot of fun at Awana. After “Game Time”, I asked “Snack Time” to be postponed and quickly funneled them all into “Lesson Time”. After singing a few choruses with them, I stood in front of about twenty 5-7 year olds and began slowly eating a delicious looking snack time cupcake.
Every single adorable eye was glued on me and that cupcake as I took bite after bite. I asked them (with a mouth full of cake) “Are you guys a little hungry?” They all nodded their little heads quickly. “Do you wish you could have a cupcake?” “Yes, uh hu, oh yes” they responded. With their eyes still glued on me I asked, “Wouldn’t we all feel pretty awful if I had cupcakes for myself but not for any of you guys tonight? That I didn’t have enough to share? And there was no way I could get more?” Their audible groans and looks of terror and panic filled the room. I broke character; they are too cute to torment! I quickly explained that luckily I have PLENTY of cupcakes to share, and everyone can have one. As they delightedly were handed their chocolate cupcakes with green icing and sprinkles I read from the Jesus Storybook Bible, the story of Jesus Feeding the 5,000.
Afterwards, we talked about the details of the story, making sure they were listening and comprehending, and how fortunately there was enough food for everyone there to eat (hence the purpose behind the cupcake torture). Then I reminded them of a basic hermeneutical truth (though I haven’t taught them that word yet) and that was to find out what the passage is saying about God.
I reminded them that this is not a story primarily about sharing– the little boy is not who we should walk away talking or thinking about. Though sharing is a good thing I don’t want kids to go home and tell their parents that that is the thing they learned from the Bible tonight. Instead we should see two awesome, amazing, wonderful things-:1.)the deity of Christ (KIDS,-JESUS IS GOD! LOOK AT THAT MIRACLE!) and 2.) the provision of God the Father (HE WILL ALWAYS GIVE YOU WHAT YOU NEED! IF YOU DON’T HAVE IT YOU DON’T NEED IT!)
And I go back to good ol’ Albert’s quote that I mentioned in the beginning to say that each time I teach I am wonderfully challenged with how to teach God’s truths to these beautiful, young minds. I want to make sure that I am not just promoting moralism, but that I understand how the gospel permeates and interweaves into every inch of Scripture and of life. And that is a lesson I think we ALL need to hear. As you are (and I am!) in the Word, remember to not just think about “what’s in this for me?” though of course that is important, but to first ask, “What does this teach me about God?” and then praise Him for that thing!
(p.s. this is a great website for lesson help! http://ministry-to-children.com/lessons/)