My Preschooler’s Takeaway On His Sunday School Lesson
“What did you learn in Sunday school today?” I asked my preschooler as we drove home from church.
“Man should not live alone with bread,” he replied.
I pondered his answer for a moment. “Do you mean man should not live by bread alone?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Yeah, something like that.”
“Do you know what it means?” I prodded. Driving with a captive preschooler was a good time to instill spiritual lessons. He was strapped into a car seat and couldn’t get away from me.
“Yeah, it means you should eat other food besides bread. Eating just bread isn’t good for you.”
“Well, that’s true, but this Bible story isn’t talking about the food we put into our bodies. It’s talking about spiritual food.”
“How do you eat spiritual food?” he asked.
Okay, how did I put this into words a young child could understand? I drew on all my theological knowledge to deliver an explanation suitable for a four-year-old. I thought I did a rather impressive job if I did say so myself.
“Now do you understand?” I asked.
Sin and Baptism From a Preschooler’s Point of View
Typically, his mind had already moved on to something else. “Why did Daddy push Travis in the water and get him all wet in church today?”
“That’s called baptism,” I explained.
“People get baptized when they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It shows that their sins are washed away.” I thought this was a simple enough explanation for my son’s tender age.
“What are sins?”
“Sin is when we do something that makes God sad,” I said.
Now we were wading into spiritual waters. It was time to move out deeper.
“Like not doing what your mother and father tell you to do. Or telling a lie. Or being mean to someone. Or fighting with your brother or sister. Or taking something that doesn’t belong to you.” I rattled off a laundry list of potential sins to which a four-year-old could relate. After all, he committed most of them daily. I finished up with, “Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead to take away our sins so we can live with Him in Heaven someday.”
“How did Jesus do that?”
“Well, I don’t know exactly how it all works, but . . .” Great. Where was my husband, the paid professional holy man when theology got deep? Moreover, why didn’t our son ever take up these questions with his father, the pastor, who was paid to know all the answers? Getting into sacrifices and atonement and all those concepts were a little over my head, so I didn’t think a four-year-old would “get it.”
“That’s just the way God worked things. Our sins keep us apart from God. When Jesus died on the cross, He took all our sins away so we can be with God.” I glanced into the rearview mirror to see if he was paying attention. Surprisingly, he seemed to be listening, so I continued. “But we have to admit that we sinned and tell God we’re sorry and we will try not to sin again. It’s not like telling someone we’re sorry because your mom or dad or teacher made you say you were sorry. You have to mean it.”
I watched that point register on his face and congratulated myself on imparting spiritual wisdom to my young son.
Getting Into Specifics
Then he asked, “Did Travis sin?”
“Yes, everybody sins,” I said. “That’s why Travis got baptized today. He asked Jesus to forgive his sin and save him from his sin.”
My son’s eyes grew wide. Then he asked in a little, conspiratorial voice, “What sin did Travis do?”