Monday, June 2, 2008

Sunday School - fruit of the Spirit - faithfulness

Yesterday at Sunday School we talked about faithfulness. The fruit was a cherry, shaped like a circle, which has no beginning and no end. Like faithfulness, which never fails.

Preparing this week's lesson was itself a lesson in faithfulness. I'm really struggling through this 11-week Sunday School series, with my father-in-law's death and my daughter's illness. Finding time week-by-week to write a Sunday School lesson, and digging deep for the energy to lead it, has tested my faithfulness to the limit.

I also learned how God graciously rewards faithfulness. Last Friday I sat down to read Daniel in weariness and discouragement, but by the end of the 12th chapter, my head was wiser, my heart more joyful, and my will stirred to greater obedience. I'd forgotten how the effort of faithful preparation, of plumbing deep into God's Word, is more than rewarded by the deep satisfaction it brings.

I was gripped and inspired by the story of God's faithful servant Daniel. What an amazing example of faithfulness!

    - He stayed faithful to God, worshipping and praying only to him, even when the likely result was death by lion. He prayed 3 times a day, and wept for the sins of his people.
    - He stayed faithful to God's Word, refusing to be defiled by food from the king's table. It would have taken courage to risk the king's displeasure, and to stand out in a hostile and pagan environment.
    - He stayed faithful to his responsibilities. He was wise, hard-working and trustworthy, so that not just one but two kings put him over their kingdom.
Even his worst enemies could find nothing against him, except his service to God. "They could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, 'We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God'" (Dan. 6:4). Would our enemies be able to say this of us?

Daniel's story reminded me that we should be known for our faithfulness to God. At school and work, are we open about our faith in Jesus? We should be known for our faithfulness to God's Word. Are our lives distinct from those around us? We should be known for our faithfulness in our responsibilities. Do we avoid sloppy work, unfulfilled promises, and unfinished tasks?

Great lessons for children! To let their friends know they love Jesus, even if they face rejection. To be absolutely honest, whatever the temptations to lie or steal. To do their work and tasks reliably and well.

I told the story of Daniel using finger puppets and some plastic lions. Pity that the "handsome" Daniel had two pink tufts of hair sticking out of the sides of his head, but you can't have everything!

After church yesterday the children were proudly wearing the friendship bands they plaited at Sunday School. The boys were particularly taken by the idea that you wear them until they fall off (parents and teachers permitting!) to remind you to stay faithful to the end. Others were wearing wrist bands printed with this verse:
Fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Joshua 24:14


Anonymous said...

well I marvel at the thought and effort you put into your SS lessons and craft and I am sure God must be pleased with it too because of what it is teaching and modelling - even if the kids themselves don't say as much!

Dani said...

Thank you so much - I have been struggling to think of something to really show what being faithful is to my children at church on Sunday and with the wonders of google your page came up and now I am inspired and off to buy threads to make some bracelets on Sunday, a talent I have acquired over years of outreach!

Jean said...

I'm glad it was helpful! I'd love to see your bracelets!!

Anonymous said...

Here is an example of God's faithfulness. As I begin to work on our lesson on the fruit of faithfulness, this site was first on the list. It laid out the thoughts He wanted our children (many from very difficult home-lives) to hear. Thank you for being faithful to do His will - for children you don't even know! God bless you!

Vien said...

Thank you so much and may God continue to bless you. I am planning to teach focusing on this topic and this helps me a lot. Thanks again and God bless you.