Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dear to Me

I never thought I'd say this, but I can't wait to wake up early tomorrow.

It seems a strange thing to say, doesn't it? For a teenager? For anyone who's not six? I agree.

I certainly wasn't excited to wake up early this morning and go to "Sunday school training" at church. We have a large body, and nearly a thousand children come through our doors to learn about Jesus every week while their parents go to church. Because we have so many children to teach, we have to have lots of volunteers to do the teaching. Today (this morning in particular) was the big training, teaching old volunteers new curriculum and giving new volunteers the orientation of sorts.

I've taught kindergarten at the Saturday night service for the past three years, and I have to admit that at times I have been far less than enthusiastic. I go because I feel that, as a Christian and a member of the church, it's part of my job to help teach the next generation of children. But the fact that I was diligent about serving did not mean that I had a servant's attitude.

In fact, many days I arrived at class tired, frustrated, and unable or unwilling to communicate the love of God to the kids who came in to hear it.

This year, I felt God calling me away from serving that same kindergarten Saturday night class, and moving on to something different. They needed volunteers for third grade at the 11:10 Sunday morning service, so I decided to go for it.

I don't know what happened today at teacher training, but it was like a switch was flipped on inside of me. I cannot wait to teach third grade.

I don't know what exactly got me so excited about it. Leader training was fun and interesting, but nothing to change my attitude and heart so drastically. It must have been God, opening a facet of my heart for these third graders that I didn't even know existed.

I am ecstatic about teaching these kids how to be a light to the world around them, about showing them that the Bible is your sword and that prayer is like a lightsaber (the class is outer space-themed). I can't wait to pray over these kids individually, to be able to invest in their lives, to be able to show them that God loves them, and that they, in turn, can love others like He does!

I consider it an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to teach these kids about God's love. It is my prayer that God would continue to prepare my heart to teach these kids, and to learn from them too. I pray that He guides each of them with His hand, through each and every day, and that they can use what they discover in class to be ambassadors for Jesus in their own schools, in their own homes, to their own friends.

Children are such an important part of the body of Christ. They are the next generation, the innocent, the least of these. The Bible says that they will "inherit the kingdom of heaven."It's our job as growing and maturing members of the body to lead them and support them and encourage them. I hate to think that while I haven't been neglecting this job, I haven't been treating it with the reverence and respect and effort it deserves.

"Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us."
                  - 1 Thessalonians 2:8

It is my prayer and my hope that God will transform my heart and the hearts of everyone serving the precious children at my church, and at churches around the world into hearts full of "so fond an affection" for these kids that we couldn't help but share both the gospel and "our own lives" with them. 

I pray that God's precious third graders that He has placed in my path will become "dear to me."

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