Then Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to Me, because the kingdom of heaven is made up of people like this.” (Matthew 19:14 HCSB)
Every year I help with Vacation Bible School at my church and in my parent’s church. Here are three reasons why:
- I teach the music. As you may know, I love music. I enjoy getting the children to see the connection between the words in the music and the lessons they learned in Bible study. I go over the Bible verse with them every day because, for some of them, it might be the only verse they will ever learn. Once learned, they have a piece of God to carry around with them forever. Maybe one day that verse will come to mind at a time they most need it.
- It gives children something to do. It gets them away from the television, the computer, and/or games: Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii. They get to do crafts, music, recreation and have a snack. Something many schools have eliminated. There’s a lot of planning involved, but if one child comes to know the Lord it is worth it.
- It lets children know that Jesus loves them. They are special and important to Him. And, they learn that He knows their name. For many children, it is the only time they are exposed to who Jesus is and why He was born. Over the years, I’ve heard stories of grownups who remember VBS from when they were a child. It always has had a positive impact on them.
In the above verse, people were bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed. The disciples tried to scold them and send them away. I suppose they thought Jesus was too important for children. I assume they had no children of their own at that point in their life. Still, it’s not much of an excuse.
As a result of their sending these parents away, Jesus scolded the disciples. Jesus knew then what analyst tell us now; over 80% of people became Christians when they’re a child or a young teenager.
Why is that do you suppose? Think back to when you were a child. Weren’t things simpler? Didn’t life seem easier back then? All you wanted to do is play, right? The truth is, becoming a Christian is easier to do when you are a child.
Let me put it to you in the VBS way:
- A—Admit to God you are a sinner. As a child, it’s easier because they aren’t prideful. We adults want to hang onto the delusion that we are “Good People” and that’s good enough for us. It’s not good enough for Jesus. “Good People” still make mistakes. We still misbehave. We still do wrong.
- B—Believe that Jesus is God’s Son. As a child, it’s easier because they still have hope and trust in things unseen. They believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny because we tell them they are real. They believe us because we would never lie to them. Right? As we get older, we become less trusting. Most of the time because of experiences with others. Others, who are imperfect like us. Others, who make mistakes and misbehave, too. I am thankful that Jesus is perfect.
- C—Confess your faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. As a child, it’s easier because they understand that they need help sometimes. They have parents to lean on. They understand that they are not the ones in control. They trust us. We, adults, have a hard time putting our trust in the help of others, much less in God, especially when He is unseen. We would rather do it by ourselves because, of course, we know what we want, how to do it, or what needs to be done. The path to Heaven is not a path that can be traveled alone. It must be done with faith in Jesus.
So, you see, it’s easier when you’re a child. They know they misbehave. They are trusting. They have faith. That is why Jesus said, “because the kingdom of heaven is made up of people like this.” (Matthew 19:14c HCSB)
I know it’s hard, as an adult, but try to relearn how to let go of pride, how to admit when you have done wrong, and how to trust again. You won’t regret it.
Lord, thank You, for letting me be a part of teaching children about you during VBS. I pray it will continue to be an outreach to children who would not be exposed to Your love otherwise.