Monday, July 23, 2012

AWANA Banquet

As many of you know, our church has a ministry called AWANA, which stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, and is taken from II Timothy 2:15: “Study to show thyself approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Last night was our annual AWANA Banquet where we recognize all the students for their hard work and faithfulness to studying God’s Word, and it was so refreshing to see over 200 children receive awards for their accomplishments. Members of each class were selected to recite Bible verses that they had learned, and several students were recognized, even receiving a standing ovation, for having given their lives to Christ during the AWANA year.

As I listened to our 3 and 4 year olds reciting verses I was reminded of a criticism I had heard growing up in Orlando, that these children don’t understand what these verses mean, so what is the point? The truth is, most of these 3 and 4 year olds probably don’t understand what these verses mean, but someday they will. I started out in AWANA when I was in 2nd grade, and I quoted a lot of verses back then that I didn’t understand. My motives were wrong; I just wanted prizes.

But those prizes are all gone now, and the memory of those verses is still with me. And the concepts that I could not grasp as a 2nd grader make sense to me today. That is what Paul was telling the young pastor Timothy to do (and the same command applies to all Christians today): study, and rightly divide it. What I studied as a 2nd grader I can properly interpret and apply today. Are you doing this today?

After the banquet I was able to share the gospel with a young man who was an admitted unbeliever,and I laid out God’s plan of salvation for him, using nothing more than the verses that the AWANA students had recited. That means that through AWANA our students have learned how to present the gospel, and I know that Paul would have been proud that they studied and divided the word of truth.

I know I was proud of them.

(Read Part 2)

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