My husband often quotes the saying "I have hidden Thy word in my heart so that I may win a free week at camp." when describing AWANA. I have been involved in AWANA in various ways for several years and always defend it's real purpose to my husband who loving agrees. However, this week, I found that statement to be more true in my son's night at Cubbies than I would like to think. After several weeks of absence, my son returned to club with his current week's verse ready to say and several previous verses passed over and needing to be caught up on in the weeks to come.
Meanwhile, down the hall, I was once again am telling my AWANA girls how important it is to be "doers of the word,and not hearers only" (James 1:22). Since the beginning of the year our focus in our group has been knowing, understanding, and applying the verses the girls memorize and communicating this desire to them. It saddens me to see a girl stumbling through a beautiful verse, having no comprehension of the verse they are struggling to recite.
Fast forward to the end of the night where I'm picking my son up at the Cubbies' door. Inquiring on how he did with his verse that night I was informed he did great, in fact, he completed six others as well and is now caught up. Truth be told, like most moms, I imagine, relief of no longer working to catch back up came over me. Disappointment followed right on it's heels. How did my son recite six verses we've never gone over? Simply repeat after me? Quickly the announcement was followed by the reassurance that he would receive his patches next week.
So my dear son, as you lay your head down to sleep tonight I want you to know how deeply sorry I am that today you learned the token lesson that a "free week at camp" so often wins out in our lives in comparison to the work of a "lifetime of living out the word of God". I regret that you were congratulated for earning a signature at the bottom of a page when what I desire most is you will hear the words "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matt 25:23). Mostly I'm sorry for not spending each of those missed weeks persisting on with truly learning those verses so you may truly hide them in your heart. I look forward to spending this next week in these same verses pursuing the treasure God stored in them for you and me. May you always hide His word in your heart and live it out unashamedly before men.
"And those whose hearts are fed with the bread of life, should with their lips feed many."
- Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary