Soon, I will write a post about our plans for next year’s school/ curriculum plans; it’s about that time, and for a variety of reasons, I’ve already had to think about what changes will occur in our school, and what will stay the same. For now, however, I am simply enjoying our few remaining weeks, and surviving—not thriving—in the number of interruptions that continue to attempt to overtake our day.
One of my greatest joys right now is the time spent in the Word with our younger two. I’ve been somewhere between curious and apprehensive about the book of Leviticus.
God is so faithful. From the first chapter, I knew where we were going: God set a standard. Before He gave the details on what to bring, how to bring it, etc., He simply states that He wants our best. Verse 3 of Chapter 1 states, ‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord.’ Reading this passage gave us an excellent opportunity to talk about how flawed our standards are in light of what He expects.
Often the children will gauge themselves according to how someone else is doing. Their behavior is good relative to someone else’s actions. Their performance was good because someone else did not do as well. While the outside world helps us with an understanding of the norm, there are several problems with this type of comparison.
1) It sets us up for less than our best if the standard is lower.
2) We use external measures for correction rather than internal reflection; the latter often reveals uncomfortable truths that, if we surrender them to the Father, can accelerate our growth.
3) Being satisfied with earthly means and measures of success can often mean that we are out of sync with the will of God (1 Peter 2:9, John 15: 18-21)
As an adult, I find myself making similar comparisons. And for all the same reasons, the world’s standard is a set-up. The kids and I even talked about this from a corporate perspective. I’ve shared in previous posts about some of the programs at our church, and many churches, who have become increasingly seeker-friendly (you can read more about the seeker-friendly church movement here or in tons of other places). Though we still use common church vernacular (words like ‘sin,’ ‘repentance,’ ‘salvation,’ etc.), we still stand with many congregations that, in reaching out to the un-churched, are losing a generation of young adults and kids who are hungry for Truth. In short, the world is increasingly loving the church, but is our behavior acceptable to the Lord?
So, as I ask the children when we read the Word together, what does the Lord want us to do? Well, personally, I thought about an experience I had with the oldest and a substandard midterm. We went 15 rounds about what I wanted but didn’t explicitly state, and how she performs for others versus her performance for me. I see now where the Word in Leviticus 1 would have worked–if I’d worked it. It’s really not about me; ultimately, it’s about remembering who you are and to whose standard you are subject (Colossians 3:23). My standard should not be the standard for our school; all of our work should be our best, for this is acceptable to God.
How’s the rest of Leviticus going? The youngest says, “All these sacrifices sound alike.” Our vegetarian son summarizes each chapter as “more Old Testament killing.” This kid and his growing sensitivity to meat and meat products scares me. I can’t even cook dinner without him saying, “Do you realize how many ______(name your land or sea creature) had to die for you to enjoy those?” We may not get much more than a new level of expectation out of this one, but that will be enough.