I recently read a story that made me take a second look. The famous German explorer Alexander von Humboldt was exploring South America when he ran across a very old parrot deep in the jungle. But the amazing thing about this elderly bird was that he knew how to speak forty different words. But even more astounding was the language he knew. The parrot recited forty words from the ancient Ature language of South America, a language so rare that all of the natives who had once spoken this language had died of disease and attacks from other tribes. The only perpetuator of this ancient language was a bird!
There are many inspiring stories of men and women who worked tirelessly for God in the Bible and Christian history. These stories not only possess insightful knowledge, they stir our hearts toward a higher standard. But unlike the parrot in our story, teaching students to just repeat stories can only go so far. We can’t force people to hold a story close to their hearts. Putting in the time to listen, mentor, and build relationships is the golden ingredient that can turn these stories into fond memories that will stick close to a kid’s heart for years to come.
Jeremiah 6:16 says, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’” The “old paths” can help us avoid getting sidetracked as we face the future, but following them doesn’t happen by accident. It takes intentional mentoring and relationship-building. I’m very grateful that God has given us so many precious lessons from the “old paths” in the Bible. Our job as parents, teachers, and leaders is to pass them on to the next generation.