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home : religion : religion November 24, 2017

11/11/2017 12:11:00 AM
Learning With Dick & Jane

Dr. Vince Hefner, Pastor
First Baptist Church, Cherryville, NC

Let no one kid you; growing up is a continual learning experience. I can remember my mother telling me to behave and listen to my teacher when I entered the first grade. I thought I had arrived when I stepped onto that big yellow bus to go to school! I thought I was going to be treated like a “grown-up” from that point on, but even then I was in for some surprises.

I figured when I learned to count up to 30 or 40, and mastered the alphabet, I would be released from school. What else did I need to know? When I was told that I had to go to school for twelve years I was devastated, partially because I couldn’t even count to twelve…the truth hurts.


I imagined I would be an old man by the time I reached my last year of school, or even if I could live that long! As the reality of going to school twice as long as I had been alive began to sink in, I recalled what my mother told me, to “behave and listen to my teacher.”

I was going to have to make the best of a bad situation, a lesson that I have relearned many, many times in my life. I was getting settled into a routine, listening to the teacher read from a book about someone named “Dick and Jane,” when she threw the class a curve ball. She told us it was, “Nap Time.” Say what? I couldn’t believe it, “Nap Time?” It was my first day of being a grown up and I was being made to take a nap? No wonder it was going to take 12 years to get out of school, I was going to be made to take a nap every day? While the sun was shining? I tried to explain to my teacher that grown-ups don’t take naps, but she just smiled and told me to behave.

I had heard my parents talk about work, but neither had mentioned taking a nap in the middle of the day. As I lay down on the floor, staring at the ceiling, with the lights off, I wondered how many naps I was going to take over the next twelve years. I thought it was a waste of time. I could have stayed home and taken a nap in my own bed. All I wanted to do was grow up, and leave “nap time” for the kids.

Now I am as close to “grown-up” as I am going to get, and I think “nap time” is a great idea. However, if I started to take naps in the middle of the day, people would think I was lazy. I can imagine someone calling the church to talk to me, and the secretary explaining, “I’m sorry the pastor can’t talk to you right now, he is taking his…nap.”

I guess we can’t be satisfied. When we are younger, all we can imagine is getting older. When we get older, we daydream about what it was like to be young and carefree. However, being young was not all that carefree for me. I had to learn how to read, write, and do math. I can’t remember what grade I was in when the school started talking about the metric system, which was a new way to count and measure stuff. What? I had to learn a new way to count, and I hadn’t even mastered the old way. That doesn’t sound too carefree to me.

When I was younger I had to learn how to play baseball, and hardest part for me was learning how to lay down a bunt when all you could think about was getting hit by the baseball. And speaking of getting hit by a baseball, I was told that I couldn’t rub the spot where I got hit by the pitch. It would be considered weakness to do so, and you wanted to show everybody you were tough!

The best part of being young was the chance to learn new things that would come in handy when you got older. I have wondered about a great number of things in my lifetime, but I don’t have to wonder whether or not God loves me. It is a great feeling to know that God loves you when you are a child and don’t want to take a nap, or can’t count to twenty, or when you cry and rub your arm when you get hit by a pitch. This is the best thing I have learned in my life.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Dear friend, you can learn this truth regardless of how young or old you may be in life. The question is, have you learned it?

Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it!

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