Sunday School is a vital teaching arm of the Church tasked with nurturing and developing souls into a fuller and richer spiritual life. Utilizing the Sunday School auxiliary to its fullest potential is one way to help your local church flourish. Bettie Marlowe, General Sunday School Coordinator, reminds us of the importance of Sunday School and introduces the 2020-2021 theme this morning!
“Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:10).
“Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:” (Deuteronomy 31:12).
To “gather” takes effort. And many methods are used. The cowboys used rope to gather wild horses and cattle. It seemed an appropriate way to capture the strays.
There are more ways which are equally effective. I was helping a farmer round up some cattle which had ventured from the pasture. He told me, “See that cow over there. If we can get her to head for the gate, the others will follow.” Sure enough, we hemmed her in between us and she headed for the opening. All the rest followed suit and soon they were all safe inside the fence.
Now, I don’t know if cows think logically, but undoubtedly, they knew which cow to trust. She was the leader of the herd. I’m sure they didn’t have a meeting and vote her in, but somehow she held that position. She didn’t go around, slapping them or even nudging – she just headed in the right direction and they followed. Instinct, I guess. (Do you believe God has instilled an instinct in every human being to seek him?)
Sheep, too, will follow their leader. John 10:16 says “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
So how do they “hear” the shepherd’s voice? As in our Scripture, God said, “I will make them hear my words …” So there are two steps: 1st – Gather the people together; 2nd – I will make them hear … that they may learn. Sounds like Sunday school work to me. But there must be Holy Ghost-filled teachers who are learned in the Word to gather others to Christ and the Church. Without the Holy Ghost guidance, people could be led in all directions.
A pastor’s wife told me about a time, she unwittingly led a whole funeral procession the wrong way. Her husband told her he would ride with the family and she was to follow that car – the others behind her. As she was driving along, she carried on a conversation with others in her car, and when the front cars and hearse turned off, she didn’t notice and just kept going. She didn’t know where she was going. On through town, and realizing she was lost, she kept driving hunting the cemetery – the other cars following behind her. She finally arrived at the cemetery, coming in from the opposite direction.
There is a reason for the “gather together” – they must hear the same message. It doesn’t matter from what country, culture or locality they come from, Jesus prayed his people would be one. He gave the commission to His disciples first, and to us.
Go outside the realm of the familiar. Deuteronomy 31:12 gives a comprehensive list of people – men, women, children AND the stranger. Therein is the goal: “… hear my words … learn to fear me … teach their children … observe to do all the words of this law.” Do you know how important the Sunday school is in the plan of God for His Church?
And then in 1Chronicles 16:35, we read, “And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.”
“We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.”