On Thursdays, I tutor second grade girls in reading. The school where I tutor is an arm of our church and Bible is part of the curriculum. The time I spend with the girls allows for some chit-chat where I can get to know them better, and I admit this is my favorite part. I enjoy getting to know their different personalities and interests.
One day as Lauren and I talked about her favorite things, I asked for her favorite story in the Bible. She quickly responded that it was Ruth. I asked her to tell me the story and she gave one of the best detailed accounts I’ve ever heard. Any Bible teacher would be proud. I asked Lauren where she had learned so much about Ruth and she said from Mrs. Cleek (her classroom teacher).
I have worked with Mrs. Cleek for three years. It is a joy to watch her involve her students in learning. She approaches all of it with enthusiasm, bringing about their anticipation of a wonderful adventure. I saw the results of all this in Lauren. She had not only been complete in her recall of the Bible story, but had told it with such excitement.
I wondered why it was the story of Ruth that had captured Lauren’s heart so. I thought over what I knew about Lauren personally and realized there were certain parallels in this little girl’s life with that of Ruth. Like Ruth, Lauren put others before herself. She was respectful, kind, always looking out for others. It was no surprise when at the end of the school year, Lauren’s classmates voted her “Most Christ-like.” I believe Lauren had been drawn to Ruth because she found in her a kindred spirit. And she saw the reward of such behavior because Mrs. Cleek had pointed out what a happy ending the story had.
Most of us have an opportunity at some time in our life to teach a child a character-building Bible story. We can bring forth a Ruth, Hannah, Daniel or David with enthusiasm and help a child to see someone to emulate, possibly someone they already share budding likeness to, and we can make sure they know the rewarding outcome of the stories we tell. We need to make them come alive and so attractive to little ones that they cherish them in their hearts as ways to live. Proverb 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (KJV)”