Heart Matters: A Child Will Lead

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“Lord, I’m miserable. The kids woke me last night with bad
dreams and sore throats. I’m starting the day already exhausted,
and today’s the first day of vacation Bible school. I need your
strength to face this day and teach those little ones!”

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This was my morning prayer at the beginning of a very hectic week.
But after the week was over, I knew God had leaned down and
listened to me on that early morning — and answered.

The doorbell rang at 8:30, and three eager, smiling neighborhood
children stood ready to go. I packed them up in our van — along
with my three children  — and headed off to VBS.

Our church has a five-day vacation Bible school. On the first day,
I began teaching my class of 5-year-olds. One child concerned me
because he had a short attention span that made him a behavior
challenge at times. I prayed for strength.

On day three, my 5-year-old daughter, Malinda, awoke with a fever.
Now what was I going to do? I needed to teach at VBS, and I had
five other children depending on me to take them. My husband was
away on a four-day business trip, which didn’t help. Fortunately,
my mother-in-law willingly cared for Malinda that day, and I
praised God for my family.

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By day five, I was tired again. My joy was depleted. Nagging
thoughts bogged me down. I’m not very good at teaching this age.
Maybe I should do something else next year — this is too hard. But
I sought God’s strength for that last day, and my cry for help was
answered through a sweet gift.

My treasured gift was a handmade thank you note-from the child
whom I’d anticipated to be a challenge for me. Colorful glitter and
stickers framed the words “To a very nice teacher. God bless
you.”

And God did bless me. A first blessing came the following week. I
received a phone call from a neighborhood child’s mother. Her child
loved vacation Bible school so much that she asked her parents,
“Why can’t we go to that church, too?” They weren’t attending
anywhere and became curious about our church. Oh, Lord — great is
your faithfulness. A child will lead them…became my silent prayer
of thanksgiving.

Then a second blessing. A sixth- grader went home from vacation
Bible school and told his dad, “Everybody who’s somebody goes to
church! When I grow up and have a family, we’re going to go to
church.” This family’s three children had attended our VBS for
several years, but the family wasn’t attending church. The family
started coming because of a child’s enthusiasm. Oh, Lord, a child
will lead them.

Is teaching children worth the energy and effort it often takes?
Are vacation Bible school programs worth the time, planning,
people, and stamina?

If I chose to be selfish and wanted things to come easily, I’d say
no. Sometimes teaching children is hard work! But when I recall
this past year’s VBS and remember how the children led their
families to church, I choose to say yes, yes, yes! It’s worth every
ounce of energy, and I’ll teach again next year.

We never know what God has planned, but surely it must be more
than we think or imagine. As we invest our time in leading children
closer to Jesus, God in turn uses children’s enthusiasm to lead us
closer to himself. Now that’s a ministry we shouldn’t miss out
on!

Brenda Roth is the girls club coordinator at her church in
Sellersville, Pennsylvania.

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