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I was teaching Sunday School to the first and second graders, including my oldest child. This is the age where I personally like to get them into the habit of bringing their Bibles to church every Sunday. If a child doesn’t have a Bible then I work with their parents and the church to make sure they get one.

In order to make this habit stick, I brought a mayonnaise jar and a box of marbles to class the first day of the Sunday School year. I explained to the kids that each child who brought a Bible could put a marble into the jar, and each child who sat quietly during class while asking and answering questions could put another marble in the jar. When the jar was full then I would bring a box of donuts the next week. It was as if I’d said no more school for the rest of the year-these kids thought they’d won the lottery.

Every Sunday the kids would bring their Bibles to class and put marbles in the jar. They asked questions, answered questions, and we practiced looking up verses in their Bibles. Everyone that is except Katie. She did ask and answer questions, but she never brought a Bible. I would remind her every Sunday but the next week she still would not have a Bible. The kids were getting a little belligerent with her too-after all, her actions were causing them to wait longer for donuts. After a month I decided to get to the bottom of the issue.

“Katie”, I began, “is there a way I can help you remember to bring your Bible to Sunday School every week? I really want to help.” Katie solemnly shook her head. “No ma’am-there’s really nothing you can do.” I persisted in asking though, “Could I give you a reminder card? Could I ask your mother to help you remember?” Katie continued to shake her head. “No ma’am-those things won’t work with me.” I sighed a small sigh. “Well, why not?” She looked at me so seriously and said, “Well we don’t have any Bibles in our house.”

I thought to myself, well that’s easy to solve, although I’m confused why a family attending church pretty much every Sunday doesn’t have any Bibles in their home. My place is not to judge though, so I decided to speak with our pastor. I called the church office and made an appointment.

I met with my pastor and relayed the story of Katie not being able to bring a Bible to church because her family doesn’t own any. He just stared at me as if I was insane. “Jann, I feel very confident that Katie’s family has several Bibles in their home.” I paused and then asked, “How do you know that?” He chuckled and said, “Well, Katie has an older brother and sister and I presented both of them with Bibles when they each turned twelve. I’ve also seen Katie’s parents in Sunday School and church looking in their Bibles. So I feel confident they have Bibles in their home.”

I felt like such an idiot! I hadn’t stopped to think logically about the situation-I just took a first grader at her word. I decided to talk to Katie’s mom at church the next Sunday.

I stopped Katie’s mom as she brought Katie to class. “Could I have a word with you?” She smiled and said “Of course!” I had been rehearsing my speech but I still felt awkward. “I’ve been asking the children to bring their Bibles to class every Sunday so we can practice looking up verses. But Katie tells me there are no Bibles in your house.” There I said it! It sounded much harsher once I said it out loud though.

Katie’s mom paused, then quietly said, “I’m not sure why she would say that. We have several Bibles that she could bring. She also has her own Bible her grandmother gave her. But I will talk to her.” I felt really bad and hoped I’d not gotten Katie into trouble. I worried about it all afternoon and finally called someone to get the family’s phone number so I could ease my stress. I called Katie’s mom and she gave me the scoop.

The first Sunday Katie was all set to bring her Bible and had it in her arms, ready to go out to the car. While she and her father were waiting for everyone to finish getting ready, Katie’s father pointed to her Bible. “Sweetie, let's not take your Bible to church-you don’t need it.” Katie dutifully put the Bible down and the family headed out the door to church.

Katie’s father didn’t realize she’d been asked to bring her Bible to church on Sundays-he just thought she wanted to take it for fun and would probably end up leaving it somewhere. Katie of course was just doing what her father told her. She told her mother she didn’t want to disobey her father, and her teacher kept insisting she bring a Bible, so Katie lied and said she didn’t have any. I didn't realize I'd been pressuring her-I felt so bad! But Katie’s mom told me not to stress. She said Katie is a quiet and obedient child and rarely questions her parents.

So the whole family had a long talk about how communication is important and certainly better than lying. Long story short, the family straightened it all out and Katie proudly started bringing the Bible her grandmother gave her. I feel I need to mention this is the same family who left their son at church for forty minutes 😊

Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this post-I’d love to hear about it.