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Heart Matters: Wise Investing

We work to make money. We're careful with our money. We take it to professionals who tell us what to do with it, how to keep it, how to manage it, and how to make it grow. We know how important money is to our livelihood. We know that if we aren't smart about how we use and invest our money, the results can be disastrous for our lives and for our families.

Children's ministry is a lot like investing. But rather than money, we invest ourselves. We invest our time. We're careful with the kids and families we minister to. We're professionals when it comes to loving and shepherding the children in our care. We know how important children are to God. And we're smart and innovative with our programs for kids. The big difference is that we're investing in something infinitely more precious and valuable than any amount of money ever could be.

Now you might say, "I only work with kids once a week. That doesn't exactly amount to a serious investment."

If that was your initial thought, you're underestimating the influence you have in that hour or two per week -- and you're forgetting God's awesome ability to change lives through you.

Think back to when your personal spiritual transformation began. Someone was Jesus to you. Maybe it was a Sunday school teacher or a parent or grandparent. Maybe it was a friend or co-worker. Whoever it was, someone made an investment in you along the way and let God work through him or her to reach you. If you think you can't have the same type of influence, you're wrong.

Here's a perfect example. Recently a 3-year-old boy arrived at his classroom in our ministry, only to find his regular teacher wasn't in the room to greet him. Heartbroken, he looked up at his mom and very genuinely asked the only question he could think of: "Where's Jesus, Mommy?"

His question didn't arise out of confusion, and he wasn't too young to know the difference; he asked this question because his teacher was so effectively investing in her kids that she was Jesus to them.

So what's the secret? How do we go about being Jesus to kids? The secret is...there is no secret. All you have to do is love your kids. Not like you love your car or a great pair of shoes or your golf clubs. Children need to be loved by us the way God loves us, without condition -- flaws and all -- just because. That's what God calls us to do, whether we volunteer with kids once a week or every day of our lives. God works through all of us in powerful and mighty ways to influence kids -- whether it's one hour a week or 10.

They say Christianity is always "one generation away from extinction." But if we love as Jesus loves and show children Jesus by investing in their lives, Christianity won't become extinct -- or bankrupt. We'll probably never see the influence we have on these kids while we're here on Earth, but you never can tell what your small investments may add up to. God will manage your investment, care for it, and help it grow in ways you could never imagine. So go ahead and invest -- your influence is eternal.

Jessica Castello is a children's pastor in Grove City, Ohio.

What's on Your Heart?

Send your 500-word story to "Heart Matters," Children's Ministry Magazine, P.O. Box 481, Loveland, CO 80539-0481. If we publish your article, we'll pay you $125.

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