Teaching and Timeless Themes

by Bill Denton

 "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Deut 6:6-7).

In an interview with Wired magazine, filmmaker George Lucas was asked how he would be remembered. Lucas replied: "I'll be remembered as a filmmaker. The technological problems that I solved will be forgotten by then, but hopefully some of the stories I told will still be relevant. I'm hoping that Star Wars doesn't become too dated, because I think its themes are timeless. If you've raised children, you know you have to explain things to them, and if you don't, they end up learning the hard way. In the end, somebody's got to say, ‘Don't touch that hot skillet.' So the old stories have to be re-iterated again in a form that's acceptable to each new generation. I don't think I'm ever going  to go much beyond the old stories, because I think they still need to be told."

-Wired (5-01-05)

Stories with timeless themes will always be powerful. George Lucas may or may not be long-remembered. History may one day forget his name and his contributions to the film-making art. But stories with timeless themes will be often repeated. They will pass from one person to another, they will be retold in new books and movies, and they will enthrall every new generation.

This is one of the things that makes the old-fashioned Sunday school a powerful tool. There, teachers who have eternal concerns repeat old stories from the Bible that lay the foundation of faith in God and His Son, Jesus. Those stories are more than tall tales with a spiritual flair. They are about real people who faced real dangers, honest struggles, moral dilemmas, failures, and more. The stories tell us about eternal truths that do not change. These stories communicate timeless themes that help young people understand principles of life that are indispensable.

Sunday school and other Bible classes must stay focused on communicating those timeless themes. George Lucas knows that even in the movie business, you can't beat a good story based on timeless themes. Those themes are what gives a film both legitimacy and power. It is the same in a Bible class. Teachers would do well to remember that this is their purpose.

A preaching student once asked an old preacher-professor the secret to developing good sermons on a consistent, continual basis. He wanted to know where to look for material, illustrations, and topics so that his sermons would never run dry. The old man wisely replied, "Stick to your Bible, young man. Preach it and you'll never run out of material." That's good advice for preacher and teacher alike. Every student, regardless of age, needs exposure again and again to those solid, timeless truths that shape life according to God's will.x

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