My husband and I help with two weeks of church camp each summer. It is always one of the highlights of my summer. It’s two weeks spent with teens and pre-teens in the Texas heat of July trying to help mold them spiritually and grow in their Bible knowledge. Of course, there are plenty of other activities, events, and competitions, too. But, the ultimate goal is helping them in their Christian walks.
Camp always provides many lessons for me. This year was no different. One such lesson, though, has really stuck out in my mind. I was working canteen and walked up on a couple of staff members who were talking with a few of the campers. The subject, as I quickly found out, was the boy band “One Direction”. For those unfamiliar with “current music”, One Direction is a band out of the UK that is as popular with young girls today as The Beatles were in the 60’s and New Kids on the Block in the 90’s.
One camper in particular was head over heels with the group. Ask her anything, and she knew it. You want to know each member’s eye color, she knew it. Their favorite color, she knew it. After going back and forth a few times and this particular camper rattling off various facts, my husband then asked her “And what does John 3:16 say?”
She couldn’t answer. Now, I’ll give her a little benefit of the doubt… The question might have taken her off-guard. It was a 180 in subject matter from what she had just been discussing. And, no, I don’t know her background – whether she has been raised in the church or where she attends. However, I was still taken aback. A verse that is probably one of the most well-known verses of the Bible by the “religious” world around us, and she couldn’t quote it. She went completely blank. Someone else quoted it, and the conversation went on. But that event stuck with me.
The problem I see here is that this isn’t an isolated event. Let me give you some examples. How many toddlers do you know that you can tell to go get their copy of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” or “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” and they know right where to go to find it, and many times can say the story along with you… but you ask them to go get their Bible or Bible Story book, and they don’t know where it is or sometimes what you are even talking about.
How many children do you know that can give you a good synopsis of the latest movie or TV show they have seen (every kid seems to have their favorite)… but they can’t tell you the story of Daniel, or Jonah? How many teens know all the words to the latest songs on the radio, but they can’t sing along to songs like “How Great Thou Art”, “Amazing Grace” or “Trust And Obey”?
Oh, and it’s not just the younger crowd. How many men do you know that can spout off every detail of last night’s football game… But are unable to answer questions (with Biblical references) regarding why we don’t use instruments or why they take the leadership roles in the church.
And you knew this was coming…. How many of us can jot down our favorite recipe from memory for a friend… But we can’t jot down the plan of salvation (with scripture references) on the fly? Maybe we can remember the 5 steps (hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized), but maybe we don’t really know where to turn to show that to someone (whether it be Acts 2 and the day of Pentecost, or referencing the Ethiopian Eunuch, etc.). Ladies, we have a problem, and honestly, it is affecting everyone.
Now, reading books, singing songs, and knowing our recipes by heart aren’t bad things. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of that. The problem comes, though, when we know more about them then we do about God and His Word! Let’s look at a few scriptures. Ps. 119:105 tells us that, “Thy Word (i.e. God’s Word) is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”. Should it not then be the thing that guides every step, every day? When we turn to 1 Pet 2:2 it says that we should, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”. Are we not to feast on it… want it… have a DESIRE for it? Ps 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Ladies, we should want God’s word so much that it is ingrained in every fiber of our being. And then think about 1 John 5:13 where John says, “these things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life…” So, since through the knowledge of the Word of God we are saved, shouldn’t it be what we know best? Shouldn’t it be what our families know best? It’s a rhetorical question, but the answer is YES!!
Honestly, we should all know a whole lot about “One Direction”. Not the boy band…. But the “One Direction” that leads to an eternity with God and the redeemed. May it be the “One Direction” that you know the most about!
By Priscilla Smithey
Priscilla Smithey is the wife of Ryan Smithey, minister for the 4th & Stewart congregation in Brownwood, TX. A native of Garland, TX, she holds both a BS and MS in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Dallas, and is a graduate of the wives program at the Memphis School of Preaching. Currently, she spends most of her time homeschooling her two children, Seth and Hannah.