Back To School Blessing
In a few days cars will once again pull into parking lots that sat empty all Summer. Well dressed children will jump out of minivans and cars with their backpacks filled with all of the tools that they were told they needed to have a successful school year. There are the normal things a student would need, like #2 pencils, boxes of crayons, notebooks, and those things that we are sure the teaches have a good reason to ask for but we are not really sure what they are going to do with 500 ziplock bags.
And tucked down deep in the backpack is the one substitution you had to make and you hope will be okay. You know what I’m talking about, that ever elusive yellow plastic folder with pockets and no prongs. I mean I can find a yellow paper folder with prongs and pockets, or a yellow paper folder with prongs and no pockets, but do they even make a yellow plastic folder with pockets and no prongs. So in a moment of anxiety you substituted a white paper folder with pockets and no prongs that you found stuffed in the back of the shelf and just stuck yellow stickers all over it to give it a polka dot kind of vibe.
The first day of school is a wonderfully exciting time. Even though most of our kids won’t admit it, they are a bit ready to get to school and see the friends they missed all summer long. Who are the new kids? Where are my classes? I am sure this is going to be the best year ever. And every year the scene plays out the same on the First day of school: parents are up, dressed, hair and make-up done. The kids eat a three course breakfast and everyone is all smiles as we take pictures for Facebook before parents and children walk hand and hand into the school.
When we get to the twenty-fifth day of school: Kids are dressed and had Captain Crunch for breakfast, parents are dressed, but the kids jump out at the curb and walk into the building and mom wonders, why did I even put on make-up?
Sixtieth day of school: the Kids grab a PopTart to eat in the car. The parents are a bit frazzled, and still wearing their pajama bottoms, I mean they are not even getting out of the car. When the kids jump out of the car, the parent eats what’s left of the PopTart.
One Hundredth day of school: let's go let's go let's go. I know you didn’t have breakfast but you have first lunch so you'll be fine. Is that shirt even clean???? Doesn’t matter let’s go, go, go!
One Hundred Fiftieth day of school: Oh garbage, you left the kids at home. You silently wonder if you kept driving anyone would notice you were gone???
The more and more hectic life get’s the easier it becomes to forget what really matters and what’s really important. I wanted to take a moment this morning to remind our young people of a few things that are worth remembering. While you might forget the 18th president, or the Pathogram theory their are a few things you definitely need to remember as you enter this new school year.
You were created to do difficult things.
Paul reminds the Christians in Philipi in Philippians 4: I’ve learned to be content in whatever situation I’m in. I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when I’m hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.
I have often heard people say to teenagers, You need to realize how lucky you are, these are the best day’s of your life. I disagree, these are not the best days of your life. I understand that there are a whole lot of things that you do not have to deal with, like taxes, bills, disgruntled employees or customers. But you have your own set of difficult things that you are dealing with: Acne, hormones, first period chemistry, boyfriends and girlfriends, and trying to figure out if you want to stand out, blend in, or just figure out who you are.
But I fully believe that you are up to the task, Because you were created to do difficult things. Paul doesn’t say that it is going to be easy, He said he had to learn how to be content, I am sure it was easy to be content in prosperity and when his belly was full. But he also had the ability to learn how to be content when he was in poverty and dealing with not having enough. Because he found his contentment and his power in Christ. Let me remind you this morning that is where you will find your contentment and strength to do the difficult things as well.
You were created exactly how God wanted you to be
Beauty and public value is a tricky thing that is constantly evolving, and never real. In the 15th century the perfect woman was considered beautiful because of her round face, double chin, and her full body. But today the standard has changed and our magazines are filled with photoshopped ideals that can never be recreated. The end result is that you are growing up in a society that has a very warped view of what is beautiful, what is important, and what is valuable.
Far too many people get up every morning, look in the mirror, and compile their mental list of why they just don’t measure up. Maybe when you think about the kind of person you are, words like average or not bad come to mind. Sometimes you might see yourself as above average, but there are days when a closer look reveals insecurities and flaws that you can’t ignore. If you ever consider yourself unremarkable or even ordinary, you’re not seeing yourself as a result of God’s divine creation.
The Psalmist declares in Psalm 139: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. This week when you get up and get ready for the first day of school I want you to take a good look in the mirror, and tell yourself, No doubt about it—I’m fearfully and wonderfully made! God looked at this vast world and thought what the world desperately needs is you, whether you are 6 foot 5 or a flat 4 foot tall. Whether you are as skinny as a rail, or your biceps have biceps. You might have an idyllic memory or struggle to remember what you ate for breakfast. God created you to reflect His love and creativity. Never forget that you are exactly what God wanted, and you are smart, strong, talented, and powerful.
You are deeply loved
Our culture teaches this idea of, I love you if… I love you if you please me, I love you if you look a certain way, I love you if you are athletic, I love you if ….
Let me remind you that we are not made in the image of our culture, that’s far to cheap. You were created in the image of God. John writes in 1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us. God is always first in everything. He thought of you, and loved you from the very beginning.
Today we want to remind you that we love you because. We love you because you are you, and we love that about you. We want to be your biggest fans, and your greatest support. We want to hear when your made an A on that test, or got a part in the school play. We want to hear about what you did on the athletic field, or concert stage, or classroom because we love you. You not only matter, you are deeply loved.
That’s why today we are going to do one of the most loving things we can do for you. You might not be at a place where someone praying for you, seems like an act of love, but one day you will understand. So I am asking you to trust us today and allow us to show you our love, and to remind you that we will be praying for you all through the year that you will allow God’s love to be seen in you.