As part of my job, I had the priveldge of attending my daughter’s Released Time Bible Program today. She was excited that I was coming.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. After all it has been around 33 years since I was a Released Time student. Surely, it was different than it was then. But, you know what? It really hasn’t changed all that much! All the children still recite bible verses, they all still hear a bible lesson, and they still sing songs.
I observed as the children recited their verses. One sweet little girl was struggling with her verse. Her listener was patient and helped her learn the verse. Within a few moments, she was able to recite it three times in a row, unassisted. “Phew,” she said as she looked at me. “I wasn’t sure I’d ever get that one!”
Today was awards day too. Katie was thrilled that her name was called not just once, but twice! She got two prizes today and I learned that she’s just a handful of points or so away from earning her bible! With a little determination, she could accomplish that this year yet! There were many who received bibles today. Some of them cradled them as the precious possession it is. Others put it in their bag they brought to class. Hopefully, they realize what a real treasure they have!
There were 3 children in 5th grade who had the required points to earn free camp! There were congratulations all around for this accomplishment! (I get to see these kids again this summer!)
I saw a young boy who was rattling off verses left and right. You could tell his parents help him learn verses. He had them perfected!
One listener was telling her two students about a Mother/Son retreat this weekend. I heard the one boy say, “Money is really tight right now. I don’t think Mom would bring me.”
My ears perked up and I asked the listener if I could talk to him. I was able to tell him about the Campership Fund we have to help children who can’t afford to go to camp. “I doubt if I could get money from that. I won’t be going to camp either, but I’d really like to go!” I told him he could use funds from this account for both things if his mother would let him. “She won’t if she has to pay it back.” he said.
“She wouldn’t have to pay it back; it’s a gift to you to come to camp!”
“Wow, that’s cool! Am I allowed to tell my mom?”
“Of course!” I replied. “That’s why I told you!” I wrote down the information for him, because we all know 10-11-year-old boys aren’t real good at remembering things!
“You made my day, lady!” he said.
I was amazed to hear these children recite so many verses! I recalled the first verse I ever learned….Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That was in kindergarden. When I got to Released Time, it was Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”
It’s wonderful to think about how these verses will be forever a part of these kids lives! What verses do you have hidden in your heart?