My wife and I help out, on the rarest of occasions, in the children’s ministry department of our church.
To be very honest, I only do it because I feel like every parent who has a kid in the program should take a turn teaching for no other reason in the world than to see what is going on. We like talking to Marlow about what she is learning in the scriptures each week but teaching every so often helps us see some of the challenges and opportunities in the department.
All that to say… I can’t stand it. From a selfish perspective, there is WAY too much energy in that room for me. My immediate reaction is to grab a rope, plenty of duct tape, and maybe even a taser. Some of those kids are scary. Keep in mind, the kids age ranges are from First to Fifth grade. More than once, I thought about faking an injury or illness to get out of it.
However, on this particular occasion. The lesson I was teaching was probably one I should be learning. The core of the lesson was, “God will always make a way for me to follow him”. As they struggled trying to define what that meant to them, I was a little amused. They weren’t totally convinced of their answers. I thought it was funny because I had the same answers but wasn’t totally convinced of it myself. Think for a minute; reading the Bible, praying, going to church, etc. are all typical responses to such a question. But really look at the statement, “God will always make a way for me to follow him”.
First, one has to make the choice to do so. Assuming we get past that initial step; Second, the way has to be followed. For self-professed Christians, that seems to be the tough part. If we look at the paths selected by those accounts in scripture, it starts to get challenging in a hurry. The way provided is seldom convenient, pleasant, secure, politically correct, or inherently easy. During the heat of the moment the way provided appears difficult, self degrading, embarrassing, unpopular, unconventional, painful, costly, and down right crazy. So what do you say to a bunch of kids who will go home immediately after class telling Mommy and Daddy how Mr. Evans said following God will be a horrible, awful, painful terrible thing?
There will always be unpleasant things in life. To a first grader, it may be making the bed or doing homework. For an adult, it may be giving up a personal dream, working in a lousy job, taking the hit, or sacrificing a personal goal so someone else can realize theirs. HOW we do those things is the opportunity God provides to follow Him. Sacrificial giving is just that… sacrificial. It hurts. Doing so with gratitude… that is following God. That emulates the very example of Christ’s definition of “following God”.