Many residents in the Bethesda Gardens senior living community in Frisco, TX, might remember a few stories from childhood Sunday School classes. There are some universal favorites that help children learn the basics of walking with God. But just because they’re taught to children doesn’t mean these stories aren't full of lessons for adults too. In fact, as we age, we often understand certain parts of these stories even better!
Here are just five Bible heroes you might remember from Sunday School that are still meaningful to many as they age.
Most people of faith remember at least a little about Moses. You might recall the sweet baby tucked into the papyrus basket and hidden on the Nile. Rescued and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses went on to encounter God in the burning bush and was chosen by Him to lead His people out of Egypt.
It’s a wonderful story and one many people, Christians or otherwise, have heard. But there’s an aspect of the story that often gets left out in children's Sunday School: Moses once killed a man.
Prior to his encounter with the Most High, Moses was living in hiding after killing an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew. He was living in exile away from both the people he was related to and the people that had taken him in. He even married a foreign woman. Despite this, God chose him.
The lesson here is that God doesn’t choose perfect people. He doesn’t care what you’ve done prior to Him coming into your life — only what you do after. Moses is proof that when God chooses you, you can accomplish great things through Christ no matter what obstacles you think might be in your way.
Most people remember that Solomon asked God for wisdom and that he built the temple in Jerusalem. Some might remember how word of Solomon’s wisdom spread so far that it brought the Queen of Sheba to see if he was as wise as the stories told.
But in spite of that, Solomon sinned and turned away from God later in his life. He married women he was forbidden to marry and worshiped their gods, causing God to punish the house of David. Despite his wisdom, blessings from God and all that he accomplished in God’s name, Solomon still faltered.
There’s a lesson here that goes beyond the story of Solomon’s wisdom. If someone who was gifted great wisdom straight from God could falter and sin, surely the average person can too. No matter how good God makes people’s lives, or how many blessings He bestows, anyone can stumble.
Admit it: When you see the name Jonah, you immediately think of a whale or giant fish. The story of Jonah is an iconic one about a man running from the will of God. Many people can relate to that, even as children. So, it’s not a surprise that this is a popular Sunday School story.
In Jonah’s story, God tells him to preach to Nineveh. Jonah doesn’t want to. Maybe he doesn’t think he can, maybe he’s afraid; whatever the reason, he tries to run and hide. No one hides from God, though, so God brings a storm to the sea Jonah’s travelling on and most people remember the next part.
Jonah gets thrown overboard, the storm calms down and Jonah is swallowed by a whale. He spends three days in the belly. Finally, he’s spit out onto shore and goes to Nineveh as God originally commanded.
But Jonah still hadn’t learned his lesson. When he preaches to the Ninevites, they repent. But Jonah actually gets mad because he thinks God should have destroyed as He warned. There’s a good lesson here that often gets overshadowed by the earlier part: God doesn’t always do things in the way people think He should. He does them His way.
Samson was the strongman of the Old Testament. His feats of strength were legendary, which made the Philistines angry.
Samson was also consecrated to God, so he couldn’t cut his hair. Samson revealed this to his wife, and she cut his hair, breaking the vow and causing him to lose his strength. Because of this, he’s captured, beaten and put on display. While the Philistines celebrate defeating Samson, he prays for strength one last time and God answers him, allowing him to destroy the building and the Philistines with it.
Most see this as a story of redemption — and it is. But more importantly, it’s a story of God’s forgiveness. Here’s the thing about Samson: He breaks his vows to God with more than just the hair incident and does so repeatedly. Yet, every time he fails, he asks God to forgive him and God does.
No matter how many times we mess up, if we’re genuine in asking for forgiveness, God grants it. As long as we seek forgiveness, God delivers it. That’s a special lesson we can all take to heart.
Seniors who have a long relationship with Chris likely know there's a lot more to Sunday School stories than might appear. If you're sitting down for some quiet time or even enjoying group Bible study with other residents at the Bethesda Gardens assisted living community in Frisco, TX, consider revisiting these Biblical heroes. There’s plenty to dig into.