A Lesson from the Book of Luke – Featured Post by Molly Risley

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has definitely taken its toll on me and my blogging. As I ended the month of daily writing in November, I had every intention of building a routine of writing something for each of my blogs weekly. Well, that’s been a big fail. As usual, life got in the way of my plans, and that’s okay. I’ve certainly learned to go with the flow and allow myself freedom and flexibility when it comes to my expectations.

While I wish I had the endurance and time to blog daily, I am only able to do that for limited times. After doing a writing challenge for my blog, I find I need a time of refueling. When ending the November thanksgiving challenge, that’s exactly what I’ve received for the month of December. I have a friend from church that has committed to reading the book of Luke for the month of December as well as share some thoughts on her reading with her Facebook friends. It has been a privilege and blessing to read her thoughts on her study of Luke and with her permission today I share one of her posts. I hope that you enjoy her thoughts. Thank you Molly for your insights on the book of Luke.

“Santa Claus and two of his lovely elf helpers came to my classroom today! I teach 6th and 7th graders, so at first, we had a few non-believers, but by the time candy canes and singing were over, I think they changed their minds. I have it on good authority that even the 8th graders (who are normally too cool to even exist in middle school) loved that Santa came to see them at school. I am thankful that I work with such kind, compassionate school leaders who realized that Santa might not make it to every house of every one of our student’s this year, but they could all see him if he came to school. In a 5th-8th grade middle school, there’s a huge difference in what I call the “innocence factor” of our students. Many of them have seen and endured things that are terrible, even by adult standards, and they are only 10-14 years old. It seems worse every year. I believe that much of what we are seeing in our students is a result of the dissolution of the family (and, more broadly, the result of society that has moved away from God and his word). BUT, it isn’t just kids with no families or broken families who are struggling.

In Luke18:15-17, the writer describes a situation in which people are bringing little children to Jesus. The disciples shooed them away (I assume they thought Jesus had better things to do), but Jesus said this: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Jesus appreciates the innocence of children. He loves the purity of their hearts and the honesty and sincerity with which they greet the world.

In the last few weeks, I’ve heard students rejoicing over the idea that they won’t have any ballgames, practices, chorus concerts, band rehearsal, etc. for the next month or so. Many of them have told me that they have a practice or rehearsal of some sort every night until as late as 8:30 or 9:00! They’re exhausted. Run to death. And then we wonder why they have anxiety. So many of them are afraid to try because they are afraid to make mistakes. I make mistakes on purpose when I teach to show them mistakes are ok…even GOOD! We can learn from mistakes.

I pray for my kids from difficult home situations and fewer economic resources because they aren’t always getting the attention and care that they need. Some of them are trying to raise themselves. They lose their innocence too soon. But I also pray for my affluent, over-achievers who are so stressed out from trying to do ALL THE THINGS PERFECTLY that they need anxiety (and sometimes depression) medication in MIDDLE SCHOOL. Parents, please don’t contribute to STEALING your child’s innocence! They are only young once, and it goes so quickly. Let them try things they like (don’t try to live your dreams through them), and make sure they know it’s ok to fail.

When the little children came to Jesus in the event that Luke describes, I wonder what that looked like. Did they sit beside him on a bench and chat? Maybe a few little ones climbed up in his lap. It’s possible they touched his face and asked him really great questions. I can imagine something like, “My dad says you raise people from the dead and heal the sick. Can you fix my pet turtle?” Stuff like that. Who knows.

The point is this: We need to do all that we can to protect the innocence of our children for as long as we can. AND. In spiritual terms, we need to do our best to protect our own spiritual innocence and exhibit a sense of humility. We have to if we want to enter the kingdom of God (verse 17).”

-Written by Molly Risley

Until next time

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