Internalizing Jesus' Teachings
By Wes Eby
“Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus
Christ. These teachings promote a godly life” (1 Timothy 6:3, NLT, emphasis added).
One day our youngest son, Dan, age 5, came to me with his arm extended, his fist clenched. Then he blurted out with childish excitement, “Daddy, this is mines?” What was in his fist when he opened it I can’t recall, as that dialogue happened decades ago. Danny’s treasure that day is not the focus of this story.
As an educator with an English major, I was involved at that time in helping teachers with language classes for Navajo students for whom English was their second language. What caught my attention that long-ago day was the word “mines.” Danny used one of the common possessives in English that indicates ownership. As I analyzed “mines,” I realized that any possessive in that sentence structure would end with a “z” or “s” sound. For example: That is his. This is hers. I could also substitute these words or phrases:
theirs, ours, yours, the boy’s, the woman’s, the cat’s, the bee’s, the car’s, etc. You get the picture, I’m sure.
I then understood that Dan was saying, “Daddy, look! I know the rules of English grammar.” No, of course, he didn’t verbalize that sentence; he was in kindergarten. However, by his error, he demonstrated that he had internalized the rule in English about the possessive form in that sentence structure. That day he happened to choose the one word “mine” that did not follow the rule. But can a five-year-old lad internalize the rules of English grammar? Absolutely!
Naturally, we desire that our children internalize grammar rules, so they will speak correctly and not be viewed as lacking education. But we should desire even more that they internalize the teachings of Jesus. The Apostle Paul reminded his protégée Timothy that the teachings of Jesus “promote a godly life.” Jesus himself said: “But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand” (Matthew 7:26, NLT).
Our failure to help our children and youth—especially those in our Christian schools-- to hear, accept, internalize, and obey Jesus’ teachings creates individuals who are building their life’s houses on unstable sand. Consequently, in life’s storms, their houses will come crashing down, swept away by the subtle but overwhelming cultural tides.
Thank You, Father, for giving us the opportunity to instill in the children and youth in our lives the most important teachings of all—eternal truths of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
Help us to be faithful to the task you have assigned us.
Wes Eby is the Global Representative for the NEW Council. You can contact Wes at firstname.lastname@example.org