Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:3-6).
Children. They are precious. They amaze me at what they know. Children are truly a blessing to any assembly of God’s people. As a minister, I love the sound of children in the assembly. From the littlest ones who are fussy, the growing ones finding their voice, the toddler who has learned the word “no,” to the preschooler who is struggling to learn to sit still (relatively still). I know parents get frustrated and think they are a disturbance, they might be to some, but I love these children. I have had them answer rhetorical questions. I even had some seemingly cry on cue. I have had more than one think that the word “amen” could stop a sermon, after-all it is the last word said before you leave church. I have had children (not mine by the way) spit gum into my hand so they could have desert at a fellowship. They have wanted me to hold them as I shake hands with people. Children are truly a blessing.
I was thinking about some of them thinking on my drive to the study. After I settled in to my study , I jotted down five lessons they thought me this past week.
1. Encourage Grown-ups.
Last night one of our elementary students handed me a note with just my name “fancy writing.” It is special too me. I pinned it to the corkboard above my monitor. (see pic) I need to encourage more. Write more hand-written notes. Another child (5 years old) told me I was the best preacher he has ever heard. I might be the only one, but I will take that compliment.
2. Ask For Help.
Not a week goes by that a child does not need help with something. It is hard to reach the water fountain when you are vertically challenged, so they ask for help. Some doors are heavy and hard to open, they asked for help. Sometimes they cannot find their sister, brother, mom, or dad and they ask for help. Sometimes they need help folding those left-over bulletins into airplanes too.
3. Say, “Thank you.”
I have a specific adorable preschooler in mind. Almost every time someone helps her, or when Brother John (a.k.a. Uncle John) gives her a piece of candy she says, “thank you.” Such powerful words from such a kind heart. Children are so pure and innocent. I need to learn to say “thank you” more often. Even for – no especially for simple things.
After worship children are in the common area of our building playing. I am not sure what every game is. I accuse them of making up the rules as they go along. Some are outside throwing a football or baseball. Some are sitting with adults that are not their parents and are telling and learning “knock-knock jokes” or riddles. Some bring a toy or stuffed animal from home that they play with on the floor. Yes, sometimes they get too rowdy and a parent will step in and calm them down or slow them down – they are still learning self-control. As adults, we need time to play. Maybe I can toss a ball Wednesday night or learn a few “new” knock-knock jokes.
5. Why Walk when you can Skip.
Last night I watched one young elementary student skip up the hall from the common area to the auditorium. I have heard his mom on more than one occasion tell him and his brother to stop running. He was not running this time, he was skipping. As he skipped by me I sand to him, “Skip. skip, skip to my Lou.” He skipped in rhythm as he went by and smiled knowingly at me. I thought seriously about skipping my way do the office hallway (no video cameras to catch me). I read a book with the title, Why Wade Through Life, When You can Walk on Water? I think I will write one, “Why Walk Through Life When You Can Skip?” I need to take time to enjoy every moment of every day.
Have a great day! Enjoy it with a childlike wonder and quest.