I Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always.
Today was my turn to teach Sunday school and again I learned so much! It feels unfair to be getting so many life lessons from my own teaching and I just hope that the young ones in my group do take something with them from the discussion that will come back to them in a possible time of need. Hopefully, their nods and occasional volunteered comments and answers to questions mean that something important is landing in their brains. Unlike teaching in public school, in church there are no tests, no set achievement level that must be attained within a certain time frame, no competitive hierarchy of “who’s best” – just let the curriculum guide you to share what’s on your heart, share your own experiences, read the given scriptures and interpret them in our current circumstances. I doubt myself constantly – but I do not doubt God’s guidance, grace, providence and love.
Daniel Pink is a current guru on motivation, author of best-selling books, A Whole New Mind and Drive. My subscription to his internet newsletters landed a recent one of his publications in my email inbox. One of his premises, based on research, is that doubting oneself is a common trait of those who move on to achieve a great deal. In my personal case, I think that doubts about my abilities lead to more dependence on God for direction. I find his direction through the Bible, through answered prayers and through repetitive themes and events in everyday life.
Our lesson today was about prayer and this (above) was the first verse of our scripture reference. What does it mean to rejoice? We searched several different Bible versions hearing translations of happy, glad-hearted and joyful. Our lessons always start out with good news from the week: one made the GHS baseball team and scrimmages had started, one made 100 on a Science test, one is going to Disney in a few weeks with the dance team. I shared the good news that my sister was named Teacher of the Year for Grapevine High School. The Biblical command to rejoice had been followed, but how do we rejoice always?
In today’s sermon of reflections on Super Bowl commercials, Pastor John said that joy goes beyond moments of happiness because joy can be experienced even in times of trouble, even when your life takes a turn that does not meet up to your hopes and dreams, even in poor health, even in death. Pastor Cindy reminded us that joy is available to us every day and we just need to live in a state of awareness - enjoy those moments of watching the baby’s chubby cheeks, the flower’s swift bloom.
Here are a few of my moments of joy that happened to be captured in photos:
Back to the title of short and sweet, I tend to try to get my Sunday school class to learn a memory verse to go with the lesson. My co-teacher claims to struggle with memorization. This one today, he was confident he could learn. Rejoice always.