I have led Bible studies at my local church for almost five years. I cannot begin to express the satisfaction I feel in this role. Bible studies have taught us when you do what God would have you to do, it might be a lot of work but it’s not work that leaves you weary. Using what God has gifted you with to serve His church leaves you fulfilled, energized and ready to do it again. I find this true.
We start a new series of lessons every eight to 12 weeks. And each new start means the group looks a little different. There are ladies unable to join us due to a new job or a recent move. There are others in our group for the first time. So, at the beginning of each new study, my regular ladies have come to expect routine introductions. This sounds easy but oh, has it proven tricky. We run through the standard; your name, your husband’s name (unless you’re single), your kids’ names (unless you have none or they are grown adults), what town you live in and what church you attend (a trickier question in this day and age than ever before).
Then, we venture off into the playground of my mind, answering one question about ourselves that is totally random. We have a lot of fun with this one. Well, except for the times we don’t. The final question on one particular morning; tell us about your favorite pet. Sounds innocent, right? But you see, by and large our favorite pets are from our childhood and are dead. Many died tragically. We usually save our Bible study tears for times of illness, life struggles, sorrowful repentance and heavy conviction, but this time around, we had ladies sobbing during introductions. Intro flop.
Another time in particular, I asked the ladies to give me the usual; her name, her husband’s name, her kids name, what town she lived in, what church she attended and the kicker question... What is something your mom taught you about faith?
Now, I have a wonderful relationship with my mom. My admiration for her runs deep. She taught me much of what I know about running this Christian race and I count her a friend and mentor. But, with few exceptions, these ladies struggled to come up with an answer. They loved their mothers, but didn’t remember their moms living a life of faith like they wanted for themselves or their children.
Lesson learned. We all have parents and those relationships are all different. In actuality, there can be some really good chapters and some really bad ones. I know now, more than I did before, that God blessed me with the relationship my mom and I share. It’s different for everyone though. And, in a Bible study environment, especially during introductions when we aren’t even to the deep stuff yet, we need to be sensitive to that.
So, reader, in our early days of introduction, please realize my attempt at sensitivity. I am anxious to know you better; whether you are single or married; with little kids, adult kids or no kids; whatever town you live in and wherever you go to church. If your favorite pet was the reindeer that got put down after running over Grandma or if your mom’s faith looked a whole lot more like legalism than relationship. Let’s realize together God cares a whole lot more about who you are in Him now than the faith you saw exhibited by your parents.