“Jesus love me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…”, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world…”, “Do Lord, O do Lord, do remember me… I took Jesus as my savior –you take Him, too!…”
Many of you have heard these songs before, perhaps you’ve even sung them to little children at home or in a church classroom. Maybe you’ve wondered if such simple songs to such little children really even make a difference at all. Does it make sense to them? Will they even remember it? Is there really a point to teaching children as young as 2 years old worship songs and Bible stories? After all, isn’t “Sunday School” just where the kids are “watched” while their parents go to “real church”?
In today’s post I’d like to challenge that misconception by sharing a little about my own journey of faith. I was not raised in a Christian home and was never made to go to church. My parents had been raised in formally religious homes, but for various reasons they each grew up choosing to discard the church thing. The beauty of Jesus, though, is His ability to use even the simplest of truths to reveal Himself. Simple truths like the children’s hymns my mom learned in church some 45 years ago.
Jesus said in Mark 4:31-32 that the kingdom of God is like “a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants.” God was using the tradition of leading little ones, like my mom, in song to plant a tiny seed that would one day yield a full grown life of faith. You see, although my parents didn’t take me to a preschool church class my mom did sing to me those beloved children’s hymns. It was from those simple songs alone that I learned theology about Jesus’ love for me, that God used the Bible to talk to people, and that I could ask Jesus to be my Savior.
This understanding about God culminated in a brief stretch of time when my dad decided to say bedtime prayers with me. I remember being 4 or 5 years old when it all “clicked” for me. “Now I lay me down to sleep” had become for me a salvation prayer. I thought, “Well, if I die I do want to go be with God… and if I live I want Him to watch over me… so I’ll be His.” My childhood and adolescence were filled hardship and struggle, including growing up in a divorced home. Through many stumbles and failures, my seedling childhood faith eventually grew into a relationship with Christ who ultimately carried me through. Not only did His mustard seed of truth grow in me, but in my senior year of high school my mom also gave her heart to the Lord and we were baptized together! The Lord had brought His work full-circle!
I share this because I want to encourage you –the parent of 27 kids, or the single Kidventure teacher. Whether faithfully bringing your child to class or faithfully leading that class, what YOU do makes an eternal difference! Each Sunday morning when these precious little ones come bouncing into a classroom they are feeling God’s love and learning about His character. Amidst the potty trips, hugs, snotty noses, songs, and “don’t eat that glue!” the seeds of God’s kingdom are being sown. May you find those times to be joyous and full of worth, and on behalf of those you are impacting, but may never know, thank you!