As I write, I’m sitting at my kitchen table, happy to be inside on this rainy day, enjoying a second (ok, maybe third) cup of coffee, and replaying the events of last night in my mind. Last night was the Awana Awards Ceremony. . . where families gathered, awards were given, children were celebrated, and the Gospel was spoken. It was such a joy to be with the kids and interact with them throughout the evening. As the evening progressed, I reflected upon how much these kids have learned, and how much they have taught me.
Did you know that, each year, Cubbies memorize 30 verses? Yes, 3, 4, and 5 year olds. That’s right. (Is anyone else convicted? I know I am. Scripture memory has just moved up higher on “my list”.) I love watching them sing and play because they are so free, so bold, and so enthusiastic. They live out what they feel with very few filters. Granted, filters are learned and important in life, but how great to see them singing God’s praises at the top of their lungs, uninhibited by fear or self consciousness! Again, conviction. Anyone else want to be a Cubbie?
In Sparks, by the end of three books, clubbers will memorize over 150 verses. Granted, they do enjoy the tangible “fruits” of their labor. Many kids came running up to show me the pieces of candy or special toy they had selected from the Awana store with their Awana shares. However, what was equally as touching, was to see the kids who were applying the lessons they had learned through the memorization of Scripture. Many were selecting toys for younger siblings or treats for parents, or even giving shares to others who needed just a few more. Loving others, giving of yourself, acts of sacrifice. . . all Scriptural lessons they have learned in the verses they have memorized. Scripture application in action. . . the true fruit of Scripture learned and hidden in their hearts.
In T&T, clubbers have the opportunity to continue their study through four books. This year, two clubbers were celebrated for finishing all four books. This means that, in their time in T&T, they have memorized over 432 verses. As I watched these two carry in the flags, leading the procession of clubbers into the Sanctuary, I wondered how many would follow in their footsteps. . . not necessarily to receive the same award, but to replicate the desire to have dedicated study and memorization of Scripture. How many of these will keep the Word as a prominent part of their lives, committing it to memory and living out the truths held within? By God’s grace, more than we can ask or imagine!
As I walked through the Sanctuary after the ceremony, I picked up some of the plastic sleeves that encased various ribbons and awards. While these had been left behind, the award itself had been taken home, to be displayed as a tangible reminder of an accomplishment. More importantly, the same can be said for the memorized Scripture itself. By placing these words in their hearts, these children can, Lord willing, recall them as needed for personal encouragement and guidance, to edify and strengthen others, or to give praise to the God they love. While the actual awards are meaningful, what they represent is most important of all. . . a better knowledge of the Lord and his Word, and a desire to apply it to everyday life by sharing it with others.
Many asked, “So what will you do next Wednesday night?” My answer? To be honest, next week, I’m enjoying an evening off. But after that, I’ll be planning for next year. These kids are hungry for more, and they’ll be back in September! Would you like to join me?