A sermon on Proverbs 2:1-6 for Christian Education Sunday, August 22/25, 2019.
It all started a little over a month ago. For many they did not pay much attention. So many other things had to be checked off their list before they got to this task. Much time remained until they had to worry about it. They could put it off a little longer. A few people might be browsing this section of the store, but for the most part the aisles remained vacant. As time went by it became a little more popular section of the store. Still not many wanted to think about it, but they knew it needed to be done soon. Finally, carts crowded the aisles. Parents frantically checked items off the list. Kids searched through the different color notebooks, folders, pens, and everything else that needed to be purchased. Supplies filled backpacks. Names of students were put on all the supplies. A couple more trips to the store to pick up forgotten items. Back to school shopping was finished. Students had the equipment they needed for school.
However, just because they have all their pencils sharpened does not mean they atomically know the periodic table. Just because the notebooks are labeled does not mean they feel comfortable writing a story. Just because a calculator can be used in math does not mean they understand the steps on how to get the correct answer. They have to be equipped differently. Teachers teach. Teachers equip the students to build upon their knowledge.
The world values knowledge. Commercials speak of colleges wanting to give individuals a better chance to succeed in life. Some students enter a trade school for hands on learning for their occupation of choice. From a young age parents want to send their children to the best preschool in order to lay a firm foundation for the grade school years. Education is important. Education equips a person to gain knowledge, which leads to wisdom.
God also loves knowledge and wisdom. God wishes all people would gain knowledge. An entire book of the Bible speaks of wisdom. The book of Proverbs holds wisdom as something desirable. The various authors urge us to constantly seek after wisdom in every aspect of their life. Yet, God’s wisdom differs greatly from the wisdom the world champions. “My son, if you accept my words, if you store up my commands within you” (Proverbs 2:1).
God desires that we grow wise by hearing his words and commands. He does not want us to forget about all the other subjects. We need to know history, English, math, science, music, art, and all the other subjects. Yet, we cannot forget the greatest wisdom we need to gain. God’s Word and commands impart true wisdom upon an individual.
All the way back when God first gave the Ten Commandments he told parents to teach them to their children. Paul, in the New Testament, urged parents to bring up their children in the training of the Lord. God gives the textbook for a person to gain ultimate wisdom. He provides quality teachers of this wisdom. Pastors and teachers faithfully proclaim God’s Word. Schools such as our Lutheran Elementary School exist to impart the wisdom from God’s Word upon the students. God equips lifelong learning in his followers through the use of Christian Education.
Today, we celebrate the blessings of Christian education. Our school will be starting on Tuesday. Sunday School and catechism classes for the public school children start in a couple of weeks. Good Shepherd Lutheran preschool starts after Labor Day. Christian education will once again be in full swing. However, Christian education begins much earlier than any of these. Christian education starts at home. Parents bring their child to the waters of Holy Baptism. There God bought the child as his own. Parents make a promise to raise up their children according to God’s Word. Parents teach. Parents model. Parents make the knowledge of God’s Word a priority in their own life.
God provides other institutions to assist parents in providing Christian education to their children. St. Stephen’s considers it important, of vital importance, to operate a school. Teachers labor and toil to give the children ultimate understanding. Yes, all the subjects are taught. They prepare the pupils for high school, college, and life. Our teachers’ greatest goal remains to prepare students for eternal life.
“Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, because you will find the knowledge of God, because the LORD gives wisdom. Knowledge and understanding come from his mouth” (Proverbs 2:5-6). That important word “knowledge” pops up again. The world calls this knowledge we gain as foolishness. They focus on the materials of this world. The world focuses on things that can make a child succeed and grow rich for the here and now. So many educators laugh at those who hold to the truth of God’s Word as infallible.
This is what makes Christian education so valuable and different. It makes the child look to something that will never fade. It teaches a child the most important thing is not for temporary treasures but for eternal rewards. It equips students for riches that will last into eternity. God’s grace stands at the center of every subject.
The most important message stems from how our Savior came down into this world to live a perfect life for us. Jesus died on the cross as our substitute from sin. Jesus rose victoriously from the dead to save us from the snares of death. With these truths God equips us for life-long learning by giving us wisdom that leads to knowledge. The knowledge tells us how Jesus is our personal Savior from sin. This makes Christian education so important for us today and every day.
One thing that always brings groans from catechism class is when I announce the following, “You will always be learning in life. Just because you graduate from grade school, high school, or college you will always be learning. You will always be continuing your education.” Almost all the kids let out an annoying sigh. They want to be done. They want to leave the desks behind in exchange for freedom.
The point is true. We always learn. It might not be in classrooms, but we will learn. We will learn on the job. We will read books that enhance our knowledge. We do not want a doctor that never reads about new drugs, new surgical methods, or new studies. We want doctors that keep on top of everything in their field. We want to stay on top of our fields of study.
The same is true when it comes to our Christian faith. We can never be standing still in our life of faith. We will either be moving forward or moving backward. God tells us the same thing, “If you search for it like silver, if you hunt for it like hidden treasure” (Proverbs 2:4). We should be searching for the knowledge of God fervently as the most precious treasure that can be found.
We often misplace things. We rush around the house seeking our keys when we already are running late. We need to find our cell phone in order to have our lifeline. We ruffle through papers trying to find an important letter. Once we find them we hold them up triumphantly as if we won a gold medal at the Olympics.
Do we always search and hunt for the knowledge from God with such zeal? Do we at times desire to let it go as worthless rather than the treasure it is? Many people tend to put down the learning that takes place in God’s Word. They claim to know it all. The same stories repeat every year. They have been coming for 70 years to church, so they know it all. All of this does not treat God’s Word as the precious treasure it is.
Our Christian education does not stop once we leave the classrooms of a Lutheran elementary school or confirmation class. It continues as we grow. We come joyfully to church. We come eager to learn more in Bible Classes. We never stop growing. We never stop fervently searching the Scriptures.
It always puts me to shame when I go and visit shut-ins and they tell me about their devotional life. They have the Meditations laid out on the table. They pull out their Bible, almost falling apart from use, pointing to the section of Scripture they read. Their hearts fill with joy as they hear God’s Word and receive his body and blood in communion.
This is how we need to search out the Scriptures. We never grow tired of gaining those truths. We search them for the treasured promises contained therein. God equips us for lifelong learning. He strengthens us as we fervently search his Word.
My fellow gospel workers may the job never become a burden. May the joy and delight of the ministry always shine through. Satan will try to take the joy away. Satan wants us to become burdened with the problems of this world. We have orders from our Captain to go out and proclaim God’s grace to the world. We pass on the truths of God, which are so important to us, to others. We prepare others to go out into the world knowing that they are armed with God’s Word to battle Satan.
My fellow Christians may we hold to the joy of the gospel all our days. We need to come and hear it. We need to study it. We need to treat it as a treasure.
For the future generations getting ready to come to school. Never take Christian education for granted. Come joyfully to hear about your Savior. Come to grow in the knowledge of this world and your faith. Learn how to grow in your faith and defend it all your days.
One thing is needful. God’s Word gives the greatest knowledge leading to ultimate wisdom for all those who believe. We soak it up daily. We make use of all the opportunities God gives us to grow in our faith. God Equips Us for Life Long Learning. This learning leads to wisdom. We seek this wisdom fervently. Amen.