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Articles

Cow’s Tail

My family and I subscribe to "God's World News" and have enjoyed reading their magazine for sometime now. They have magnificent and interesting articles for the kids to read at their reading and age level and if you can receive emails with wonderful articles in them for the parents to read that sometime really hit home.
I'll put in a little pitch for them too. If you go onto the website they also have some other resources as well as printables available for the parents and children too. Basically the magazine gives you and your children four things…NEWS stories from a Biblical worldview that show how wonderful and sovereign God really is. KNOWLEDGE: which means that each issue is chuck full of illustrations, maps, tools, etc that will provide each child a complete understanding of each issue. WISDOM to build discernment and a biblical perspective to the world and lastly children are directed to take ACTION in the world and to what they have read. I highly recommend this magazine. So anyway, now after my mini review, on to my article.
 
We live in an age of abundance. And it is really funny how God works. I have been thinking about that lately. I walk into my kids’ room and think…OMGosh, how many toys does one child really need? But how hard is it to really get rid of them?!? Statement not question!

Well this morning, I got my weekly email from God's World News and low and behold there is an article on abundance. After reading it I was a little convicted. So this coming week we are on spring break and we will be cleaning out toys and Mom will be cleaning out some of her stuff too! I think you will really enjoy the article too and maybe it will convict you to add the teaching into your homeschooling that things do not make the world go around!

 

I once heard a sermon on how we all should learn to simplify our lives, to be less materialistic. The speaker suggested that even in our affluent society there might actually come a time when we possess enough "stuff." I was reminded of the words of our Lord when he said, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15).

Wow! Enough stuff. Imagine. I was convicted not only for myself and family but for my students as well. The clincher is that the person preaching the sermon was not a Christian but a New Age guru, and the message was not the gospel but one of self and self-worth.

So what bothers me is not the message but the one who delivered it. In my teaching of English, many times I have read the words of Henry David Thoreau, who over one hundred years ago said essentially the same thing-"Simplify, simplify, simplify. Keep your accounts on your thumbnail."

My frustration comes when I consider that this should not be the message of the heathen, but our message-the message of Christian educators at home and in the classroom. We are the ones who have been given Jesus' words, yet we have dropped the baton and the world is running the race. We have become the "Cow's Tail," what my playmates and I used to call those who lagged behind the pack.

We Christians have left a gaping hole on many fronts which the world has only too gladly agreed to fill.

Why, for instance, have we abdicated the duty of protecting God's world and allowed the non-Christian to clear the trail of environmental protection? It may be too late now for Christians to have a substantial impact on the way in which the world views the environment. We should have been educating the world about being its stewards. Instead, the world has heard the New Age message that we should be saviors of the planet.

We need to be aware of the future needs of our students so we can predict new social movements before they happen. That way we can train our students to take the lead. The new simplification movement (which isn't so new after all) being preached by the world is our message. We should not give it up.

We cannot allow ourselves to get lost in the whirlpool of "work ethic materialism," excusing ourselves and our students on the grounds that we got all we have through our hard work, planning, and effort. That kind of thinking takes our eyes off God who is our provider, and it is sin.

I am not suggesting that as Christian educators we begin teaching our students to become ascetics. Rather I am saying we should remind them that "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." For I see far, far too many students whose goal is to graduate, go to college, and get a job making lots of money. And I stand convicted, for I realize that too often I have failed to remind them and show them by example that we are called to a life of being rather than a life of having.

But the world has not forgotten. It now is preaching its own sermon on simplicity, on relationships being more important than things, on real life.

This time I'm taking my hands out of my pockets. I plan to remind my high school students, those so susceptible to new and cool things, that life is not stuff. In fact, life is not entertainment or events either. Life is Jesus and his kingdom, and "in him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 27:18).

Perhaps there are things we can learn from the world, a world that sadly reflects back to us our own errors in educating our children in the ways of the Lord. Are we not to teach our children to live as Christians? to surrender not only their souls to God, but their things as well? perhaps even to go and sell all they have and follow him?

Not wanting to be the "cow's tail," I am watching the horizon these days, looking for what the next theme the world preaches. I am preparing, praying, teaching. I want my students to surrender materialism not because it is the "in" thing to do or because it will earn them points in heaven, but because it will free them to live. "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:28).

Let's remind our students that joy comes from knowing and being, not having and getting. It is a simple message, but one worth whispering in our daily lives before the shouts of the world drown us out.

– Roy McGinnis

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