But Jesus said, “Allow the little children, and don’t forbid them to come to me; for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 19:14 WEB)
God did not call Christians to suffer through the little children even though some children are insufferable. In these small bodies innocence is looking for answers to life just as adults struggle with the same question. Working with children, sharing with them the Gospel is a delight, a challenge, a struggle and requires a person with a lot of imagination and energy.
Beth is this kind of person. She is great with children. This is probably why I like to be around our four children. She is creative, marvelous with stories and loves making arts and crafts for our home and children’s ministries. Everywhere we live she gets involved with children one way or another.
Brownies, Awana, Vacation Bible School all benefited from her gifts and talents. Even during our furloughs she would take the opportunity to work with children. I was usually relegated to behind the scenes constructing projects before the classes.
One year we enjoyed a Tee Pee in the classroom. This full size re-creation required the ceiling tiles be removed so the top would fit in the room. The children thought it was great. One young man wanted to build a fire in front of the Indian dwelling. As a deacon I didn’t think this was a good idea. There were no vents for the smoke in the building.
Another year there were paper fish hanging from the ceiling as the children experienced life under the sea. Wall size paintings, on bed linens, were often used to liven up the evangelistic opportunities. If it wasn’t nailed down it was used for a children’s ministry project.
One Guam summer it was time for Vacation Bible School. Our church held an ambitious program each year. Recruitment began just after Christmas running right up to the day before the joyous event started. The only excuse for not participating was being off island. I would go to the beach, stand in the water and shout I was “off island” so I could go to my mission work without a guilty conscience.
Each year Beth was thrilled as the little hearts responded to the Gospel message. She would sing, teach, play and show them God’s love from a heart filled with God’s love. I looked forward to the last night of VBS when the children would present music and skits for their parents and anyone who wandered into the church auditorium.
One year I was laughing with the antics of the kindergarten class and humming along with the music of the first grade class. A few more skits, songs and presentations followed and then came Beth’s class.
Over twenty young ones came prancing onto the platform with stick horses. They used white socks to make the horses head complete with button eyes, felt tongue and twine manes. It took me a couple moments to come to a startling realization.
The morning before the presentation I dressed to go to the mission. Working in technical areas I often wore work boots and white socks. For some reason I couldn’t find any clean white socks. I figured they were all in the wash until I remembered them dancing in young hands across the stage. My sock drawer had become a herd of horses to the squeals and delights of Beth’s class. Next year I started hiding my clothing when the subject of Vacation Bible School was broached.
Although some people view me as a grumpy person I have a grand time with children. For some reason they enjoy climbing, talking and having fun. I enjoy watching as they figure things out and seeing their eyes grow wide with wonder as they listen to a story about God’s love.
Jesus called the children to him. He told us we need to be like children. We need to be innocent in our devotion. No withholding before God. Clear, clean, innocent openness. It is here He takes us into His heavenly lap, tells of the miracles of a life with Him and we find rest.