Heart Matters: The Least of All

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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.

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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.

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

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