By Mr. Dean Ridder, Head of School
My family and I used to live in a rural town in Indiana. Our home was in a small subdivision that was surrounded by corn fields. Often times, the roads in rural areas aren’t very well marked. Because of this, our friends and family seemed to have a difficult time finding our house when they came to visit, especially when the corn was tall. We always took comfort in knowing that God knew exactly where we were. My wife and I would often say to each other, “Tis such a tiny cottage, but God knows where we live.”
In that hard to find house, on the counter in the kitchen, there stood a cookie jar. It was shaped like an old milk can, and it never had any cookies in it. When we returned home at the end of the day, we emptied our pockets and put all of our loose change in the cookie jar. Each year, on our wedding anniversary, we would take the cookie jar to the bank, and cash in our coins for bills. We would then take that money and go have a very nice celebration dinner.
The benefit of the cookie jar was that we never worried about having the money to celebrate our anniversary in a nice way. The cookie jar always paid the bill. Another benefit of the cookie jar was the anticipation. Every time I put my change in the cookie jar, I would think about our anniversary. Where will we go to celebrate? What will we have? How will we spend the day together?
I have been thinking lately about putting coins in the cookie jar. As my children memorize Scripture verses for school and for church, I am so pleased. As they memorize these verses, they recite them to me. It does my heart good to have them perfectly recite the very important words of Scripture from memory. How exciting that is! Some day, those memorized words are going to be more relevant in their life, and all they will have to do is pull them out. These verses will be right on the tip of their tongue. When they need them, they will have them. My children are putting coins in the cookie jar.
One of the great things about God’s Word is that whatever the need of the moment, the answer can be found there. Whatever we are feeling, whatever we are hoping—the Bible has something to say to us. When we think we are pretty neat, God has given us Proverbs 26:12. “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Won’t that bring you down to Earth? When we feel tired from being constantly on the go, God has given us Psalm 46:10. “Be still and know that I am God.” When we don’t feel God is near, God has given us James 4:8. “Come near to God, and He will draw near to you.” When we are tempted to be unsatisfied, God has given us Philippians 4:11. “I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances.”
God has given us His Word, and it has so much to say about our current situations. What a gift! Isn’t it amazing that this book written by 36 writers over 16 centuries is completely relevant to our lives today—even the problems that lie ahead in this 24-hour period? But how much more useful is Scripture when it is memorized and kept forever in our minds? How useful it is to be able to pull out one of those relevant chapters or verses, because you have already memorized it. Like the coins in the cookie jar, you have a reminder that has been stored up for when you need to use it.
I would like to encourage you in two ways today. First, an encouragement about your children. Your children may not have the best grade on the math test. They may not spell every word correctly on the spelling test. But through school, church, and your efforts at home, they are memorizing Scripture. Let that warm your heart, and bring you a feeling of success. Not only are they being taught through the Scripture, but they are memorizing His Word. They are putting coins in the cookie jar.
Can I also encourage you to memorize Scripture? Don’t just let this be something that your children do. You need to store up coins in the cookie jar as well. Deuteronomy 11:18 tells us to “fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” Memorize verses that speak to your situation right now, but also memorize so that you have coins in the cookie jar.
Dean Ridder is the Head of School at Isaac Newton Christian Academy. He has a passion for elevating the level of biblical integration within Christian schools. Mr. Ridder is the district representative for Iowa on the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) MidAmerica Regional Council, and a Commissioner on the ACSI Midamerica Regional Accreditation Commission.
Mr. Ridder has been married to his wife, Jolene, for 23 years. They have three children: Kelvin, 17, Jackson, 14, and Noelle, 7. When not working you can find him playing the piano for worship services in his church, reading voraciously, or sampling the finest ice creams the area has to offer.