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Heart Matters: The Least of All

The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 3:7-8 that he became a servant of the gospel by God's grace -- despite being "less than the least of all." What humility! Perhaps because of Paul's humility, God chose to use him in a mighty way.

I know people who have that same kind of humility. On a regular basis, this group of "the least of all" arrives at my church early Sunday morning. These people don't ask what they're going to get, but they pray that the Lord will help them have something to give. These people who'd never think of calling attention to themselves minister to our babies, children, and youth every Sunday. As these quiet servants minister, they give their time and energy, denying themselves for the sake of making a difference in the lives of our children.

Some prepare lessons for children; others work tirelessly in support roles. They persevere even when their tasks are thankless. After all, our children -- our present responsibility and future hope -- are counting on them.

I've seen one particular sound technician in our church miss his cues during worship as he praises the Lord while watching children respond to the gospel. He's not there simply to push buttons; he's there to witness miracles.

One teacher's heart is broken because she doesn't want her growing class to be split into two classes. "Kids today experience enough separation and disappointment," she says as I hand her a tissue. I'm the one who has to tell this teacher, who loves the kids as if they were her own, that her class must be divided because of crowded conditions.

Week after week, one man patiently serves in the nursery. When I peek in, I see him on his knees with the children. He calls every child in his class by name and tells them he's proud of them. He hugs them goodbye, waving and smiling as their parents take them away. It's amazing that in a world where so many men abandon their children for selfish pursuits, this man gives himself to a room full of children.

As children line up for prayer, another woman kneels to pray with them one at a time. She listens intently to each request, takes their needs seriously, and prays passionately. Her tears spill over as she holds a little child's hands in her own and prays. I don't know what prayers our children share, but they often break this teacher's heart.

Leading a line of kids into the gym, another teacher smiles broadly. The kids who follow him laugh and skip. These fortunate kids can't begin to realize the sacrifice this man has made to teach. I wonder if they'll ever learn of the miracles that've taken place in his life. He doesn't want these children to make the same mistakes he once made. He's gained a unique place in the hearts of those he's ministered to; former students often seek him out for hugs, counsel, and ministry.

Another woman greets kids warmly, but few know the real reason she's here. She prays silently during the service for them. Her reward isn't in children's smiles or pats on the back. Her reward is in seeing kids respond to the Word of God. She isn't very eloquent when she speaks, but her prayers must be, for she persuades heaven on behalf of our children.

The hearts of these servants overflow with love for the children. They don't stand in front of a crowd, and they aren't showered with innumerable praises. Some people might believe they aren't really the most important folks here. But I've come to realize that the least of all make the most impact of all for the kingdom of God. cm

John Dixon is a children's pastor at Resurrection Life Church in Richland, Michigan.

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