If you ever wonder whether or not people “get it” as they attend Sunday School, allow me to share the story of a ladies’ Sunday School class that really “got it” as they studied the LifeWay Sunday School lesson on January 29 from the Bible Studies for Life series (click here to go to the lifeway.com landing page for BSFL to check it out). The teacher of the class is Sandy Maddox, a Sunday School teacher from Florida.
The lesson was titled “Generosity Vs. Greed” and it encouraged learners to (1) share their resources generously (2) treat people with dignity and (3) protect people with mercy. The passages were from the book of Deuteronomy and had to do God’s instructions on how His people should treat the poor, foreigners, widows, and the fatherless. You’ve probably studied lessons like this in the past, but I received a letter from someone that chronicled how Sandy’s Sunday School class immediately acted on the lesson truths. Here is the story of her class through the words of her husband, Jim:
To conclude and give meaning to the lesson, Sandy asked her ladies to do something for someone else by giving (financially) to make a difference in their lives as well as being a witness for Christ. This presented a bit of a challenge, knowing that many would not have the financial means to participate as some receive financial assistance to take care of their own basic needs.
Her objective was to ask each lady to take a $20.00 bill, then pray for the Lord’s leadership during the week and use the $20 to bless the person. Through an anonymous donor, $600 in $20 bills was given to Sandy so that she could distribute one per person who wanted to accept the challenge of using it to bless someone else.
30 ladies accepted the challenge by taking a twenty dollar bill. Amazingly, she had 30 twenty dollar bills which was exactly the number needed. Many of the ladies were just overwhelmed with the thought of doing something for someone else when they had always been on the receiving end. One lady, with tears in her eyes, said, “Thank you for giving me the dignity to help someone else.” Sandy told the class there were no strings attached, they did not need to report back how they used the money unless they wanted to share their story… and the stories are already coming in!
On Sunday afternoon, one person went to McDonald s and got 20 one dollar cheeseburgers and along with a bottle of water went to a downtown Orlando park and gave them to homeless persons. Another went to Wal-Mart and looked for someone with small children that needed assistance in buying their groceries. Other similar stories have been coming and I am sure many others will be forth coming. Of course, we know that the giver is much more blessed than the one receiving. Many of them expressed with excitement that this was the first time in their lives they have had such an opportunity! Needless to say, the presence of the Holy Spirit was evident and working in their lives.
Well, thanks for letting me share one more story about my wife and her class.
I know Jim and Sandy through my work at LifeWay. I serve in the division that produces ongoing Sunday School curriculum, including Bible Studies for Life. I am thrilled to hear how this one class responded to God’s Word, and how this will change the hearts and lives of many of the ladies who decided to act on the Scriptures. I am thankful for Sandy’s effective leadership and the spiritual transformation taking place among her class members through the work of the Holy Spirit. I am pleased to play a small part in providing Sandy and her church the ongoing Bible study resources they use, and I know that Sandy has to be pleased with the way her ladies are trying to live out their faith in front of a lost audience. I am grateful to Jim, Sandy’s husband, for sharing this wonderful story with us.
This goes to show that teachers can use ongoing curriculum to effectively teach their class and lead learners to apply what they’ve learned “out in the real world.” Sunday School doesn’t have to just take place within the four walls of a classroom, as Sandy and her class have demonstrated…in fact, the best Sunday School takes place when we get off the church campus and live out our faith in front of a lost world. In my mind, this is Sunday School at its best. We come together in class to experience biblical community, search God’s Word, learn His truth, and live it out as His redeemed people. Spiritual transformation of people is the one overarching mission of Sunday School (read more about that in David Francis’ 2012 book Missionary Sunday School)…and spiritual transformation is obviously taking place in the lives of the women Sandy leads.
Great job ladies!! We praise the Lord for you and your example.