School Programs: Why Do We Have Them?
Do you remember doing a school play or church Christmas program when you were a child? I remember the last few days before a performance. Suddenly it mattered if we stood still and looked at the director. Our usually unruffled teachers decreed that during our songs, no one was allowed to yawn or scratch their nose. We rehearsed until we knew our lines and every lyric perfectly. I still remember singing, “Oh, there’s a half a million reasons to be thankful everyday, a half a million reasons, and I can’t begin to say, all the things that Jesus does for us, I never could afford, wish I had a million ways to praise the Lord.”
Maybe that’s part of why we work so hard with our students each year when performance time comes. The songs that they are learning, “I Will Sing,” “Tell the Truth,” and “Stay with the Ship” are creating memories that will last a lifetime. Though, right now, they can probably sing the words without even thinking about it, and their eyes are everywhere but on Mrs. Stucky, we are teaching them something that is valuable. When they are adults, the will remember singing “a new song to the Lord.” Suddenly when life it hard, they may find themselves humming a familiar tune and realize that the words tell them to “Stay with the Ship and trust in the Lord.” Or maybe they will have a chance to share the Gospel with a friend, and they will remember the dialogue between Captain Eli and Little Caesar where the Captain explained the truths of the Gospel. Or maybe those truths will touch their lives in a profound way this week.
There is another reason that we have school programs each year. We want to encourage our students to use the abilities and talents they have been given in a way that is glorifying to God. Our students are being stretched through this performance to achieve things that are hard for them. This year, our program has not been an easy one. If it goes well Thursday night it will not be because of our amazing directors or our talented students. It will be because God has enabled us to do the work He has assigned us to do.
We talked in Bible class last week about King Asa. He faced the one million man army of Ethiopia with a much smaller army on his side. Recognizing that victory was impossible, Asa cried out to God for help. The Bible says, “So the LORD defeated the Ethiopians…” Sadly, later in his life Asa forgot to depend on God for help and made an alliance with the king of Syria (2 Chronicles 14-16). What changed? There is such an easy and subtle shift that takes us from dependence on God to self-reliance. One of my students identified the root problem-pride. Pride leads to forgetfulness.
Thursday evening after the program, I would like to encourage you to give some thought to how you affirm the students’ performance. It’s easy to say, “Good job,” or “I enjoyed that,” but what can we say to them that will cause them to remember that they relied on God and performed for His glory? The students have prayed together asking God to help them and to be glorified through what they do. How can we help them remember this as we let them know we think they did a great job? You can tell them of truths they spoke or sang that were a blessing to you. You can thank them for honoring God by doing their best. You can remind them to thank Mrs. Zuercher and Mrs. Stucky for their help, and most of all, give them a chance to tell you that they were seeking God’s help and honor God with their work.
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