Occasionally in Assembly or Chapel, I'll poll the students. "What's your favorite Bible story?" I ask.
"Jesus," says a Pre-K student.
"Star Wars!" says another small one.
"Jonah and the Whale," offers someone else. (I begin breathing more regularly.)
"David and Goliath!" say several others.
Yes, David and Goliath. When does that story not come up in questions about Bible favorites? It's got a giant, a sharp-shooting kid, and is really more like a romping faery-story than a neat-and-tidy Sunday school lesson. But of course there's more than that. I love the story myself (always will), and one part of it in particular hits me dead-center every time:
"As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him." (1 Samuel 17:48)
Now that's something, especially as most people seem to think David was just a little pre-teen twerp who couldn't fit into King Saul's armor. In a similar situation, most men would have run away. A brave few would have stood still and waited. But David charges Goliath.
Metaphor time, as I tell our students. David puts on a giant-killing clinic, a DIY special, because the truth is, we encounter giants every day in each of our lives. We've got them bearing down on us, some big and some small. But the upshot is this: it takes running toward them, not wavering or backing down.
David's model was Christ, the ultimate dragon-killer, about whom David prophesied in the Psalms. And our children's model is us, and how we face challenges. Do we guard our dragon-tongues? Are some people just too hard to get along with? Are some tasks too big? We're either running toward our own giants or away from them. And as usual, our children are watching.
For our kids, classical education is a giant. A big, bad one that makes bread out of boys' bones. It's hard. They need all the help they can get -- and that help is best given by the tough mercies of good role models. "We do hard things," say the kids from a family we know.
Amen. Just like David, and just like Christ.