Back to Basics – by Larry Medcalfe

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After forty plus years of ministry I have finally discovered my signature age group, preschoolers. Three days a week I have the privilege to be exhilarated and exhausted working at a Christian Daycare with 3, 4, and 5 year olds. Recently while reading to some of my kiddos I was reminded of a refreshingly fun book I read a number of years ago entitled Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. I wholeheartedly agree with Fulghum’s simple assessment; “Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday School.”

As I watched the sights and listened to the sounds in my classroom I found myself longing for a world that emphasized the basics of life like they were emphasized in our classroom. Consider what our world would be like if everyone shared everything, played fair, didn’t hit people, cleaned up their own messes, didn’t take things that weren’t theirs, said sorry when they hurt someone, used inside voices and loved all of the time. Throw in The Golden Rule, flushing the toilet, Stop-Look-Listen, washing your hands before eating, cookies and milk and a nap in the afternoon, holding hands, giving hugs and smiles and then perhaps we could sing along with Sam Cooke of the 60s, “What a wonderful world this would be”.

Then I got to thinking why our world often isn’t a wonderful place to be; it’s people. We’re the problem. We’re selfish, we cheat, we hit emotionally as well as physically, we get even, we complicate the simple, we leave our messes for someone else to clean up, we steal, we don’t know how to say I’m sorry or I forgive you, we’re loud and obnoxious, we’re too busy, and we’re self-serving. Now we’re not all guilty of all these attitudes all of the time, but we all could plead guilty to many of them. We can blow it off by saying “no one’s perfect,” but that still doesn’t solve our world’s woes. How far we have wandered from the simple lessons learned when we were so impressionable, so teachable, so trusting, so obedient.

We can’t change the fact that we are all imperfect people living in an imperfect world but we can decide to draw upon the only perfect source to bring back the wonderful into our world. Perfect comes from the one who is called Wonderful; Jesus. And Jesus’ plan to impact the world through His kingdom can only be accessed and experienced by returning to our childish roots; back to basics. Jesus was very adamant in his expectations when he declared: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in. Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them” (Mark 10:13-16, The Message).

Jesus is the only one who can bless a life, a family, a nation, and a world with what they are so sorely missing. All he asks is that we step into his kingdom kindergarten and bring our impressionable spirit, our teachable mind, our trusting heart, and our obedient will back to his basics.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”                            (1 Peter 2:9, NIV).

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