Modeling Jesus

When I first agreed to teach the new two-year-old class, I must admit I was a little bit apprehensive. It had been twenty years since I last taught this age group and my daughter, Tia, was one of my students. The day before beginning this class I told my wife, Beverley, that we needed to stop by the county kennel and pick up three puppies. Why? So I can hand them out in class, so the kids would have something to occupy them for forty-five minutes. And at the end of class when they drug their new, furry friends out to their parents, I would immediately be fired as their teacher and promptly replaced with a responsible adult. In spite of everything, after twenty weeks in the classroom I have come to the conclusion that it is by far the best class I have ever had the privilege to teach. They have learned a few things from me. Like toddlers singing “Jesus Loves Me” in bass. However, I must admit that they have taught me a few things along the way that I did not know.

The lessons each Sunday were about Jesus. For about three weeks the lessons focused on the love of Jesus and how He loved all the children of the world. We would sing the song:

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children
Of the world

During part of the class session, I would allow the three of them to crawl up onto the table to watch the PowerPoint presentation. It would feature each week a picture of Jesus with a variety of children from around the world with a couple of them sitting on his lap. These two-year-olds could relate to the picture, because one of the was African American, another was asian/hispanic and the third was a white, blue eyed blond. After the presentation each week they would crawl back off the table into their seats. However, one Sunday morning instead of going back to their seat all three decided to crawl over into my lap. Surprised I said, “Hey, boys and girls you know the drill. It is time to get back in your seats.” Just then the lady who came in to assist me with the class pointed to the picture on the laptop screen and the large one just like it hanging on the classroom bulletin board. It was Jesus with the little children. She said, “they are just acting out the lesson.” So, I let them sit on my lap and we sang “Jesus loves the little children” before they returned to their seats.

Little two year olds can teach a teacher a lot about the importance of modeling the lessons of the Bible. They learn by play and acting out the lessons. Playing the role of Jesus plays an essential part in teaching.

Jesus used children to teach His disciples. “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me” (Matt. 18:1-5) Later “little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ And He laid His hands on them and departed from there” (Matt. 19:13-15).

Jesus wanted His disciples to watch and learn from the little children. Little children need to watch and learn from us about Jesus.
– Daniel R. Vess


Best Pet Match For You

An overlooked sub-group had suffered during Covid-19 shelter-in-place order. Pet owners were annoying their pets by staying home and disrupting their daily routines and sitting in their spot on the sofa.

Americans love their pets. They even make them like one of the family. Some of the most popular pets are rats, salamanders, ferrets, pigs, parrots, parakeets, newts, mice, alpacas, iguanas, horses, rabbits, hedgehogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, goats, tarantulas, gerbils, geckos, frogs, goldfish, dogs, cats, snakes, chinchillas, turtles, and lambs.

Some people have some rather strange pets. My mother had two pet skunks in the mid-fifties. Her two sow skunks were named Suzie and Vickie. Of course, they had their scent glands removed. So, the only problems they caused is when a car ran off the road watching her take the two skunks for a walk down the city sidewalk. Her dad, my grandpa Gelvin, had three-legged pet racoon named Pete. When it was young; a friend of his rescued it from a trap. My son had a tarantula, but it was his large African millipedes which were the most exotic, they were a foot-long and an inch and a quarter thick. When they curled up, they looked like a fresh pile of poo. They really do not have a thousand feet. It is more like 250. Whenever he would take them for a walk in the park, it would take him all day to put on their little shoes and then all night taking them off. My daughter, Tia had a sugar glider. They are cute but noisy and nocturnal.

The Bible speaks of strange animals, such as, Balaam’s talking donkey and the ravens which fed Elisha. However, they were not really pets. The closet to a pet in the Bible is Nathan’s story of the poor man’s pet lamb which was like a daughter to the man. “The poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him” (2 Sam. 12:3).

The type of animal one favors as a pet may indicate something about the owner’s well-being and/or personality. Sam Gosling, a psychologist at the University of Texas, says “given the tight psychological connections between people and their pets, it’s likely that dogs and cats are suited to different human personalities.” Dr. Stanley Coren says, “The general pattern that comes out of both studies is that dog owners are more social, interactive, and accepting, and cat owners are more introverted, self-contained, and less sociable.”

Those who have fish as pets tend to be happier than other pet owners. Those who have pet reptiles are often more independent. Research has yet been found in regard to the personality of those who have hissing cockroaches.

God created all animals. If there is one that He seems to favor, it would have to be the lamb. A lamb was the most sacrificed animal in the Old Testament. Under the Law of Moses, a lamb was sacrificed every morning and evening for the 1,500 years of the Mosaical dispensation (Exod 29:38-42). God the Father and Jesus Christ often are portrayed as Shepherds and mankind the sheep they care for. Throughout the Bible Jesus is often seen as the “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29; 1 Cor 5:7; Revelation 5:1-14). In the book of Revelation Jesus is portrayed as a lamb over two dozen times. A lamb is a symbol of innocence and gentleness. God’s choice of a lamb says more about His attitude toward mankind than it does about young sheep. Jesus is the Lamb of God who died sinless and willingly was sacrificed for the sins of the world. Move over Rover it appears a lamb is man’s best friend.

Perhaps we all have a closer connection to sheep than either cats or dogs. “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, everyone, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

— Daniel R. Vess

2021-12-05 - Surprising Discovery
2021-12-19 - Will Anyone Weep at Your Funeral?
Categories: The Forum