Something wonderful happened in our family on Friday.
Actually, make that two somethings wonderful – a double miracle long prayed for but still wondrously surprising.
Two of my children made the decision to follow Jesus, receiving Him as their personal Savior.
And quite frankly, I’m in awe.
I’m in awe of a God who wants to have a relationship with mere mortals.
I’m in awe of a God who went to extraordinary lengths to restore a relationship we had destroyed.
I’m in awe of grace that convicts.
Grace that illumines.
Grace that softens hearts.
I was blessed to have a front-row seat for these events on Friday. In fact, I had the joy of talking each child through their decision and listening to their fumbling, beautiful prayers of thanksgiving to their Savior.
But all the while, as I listened and talked and listened some more – often with tears – I was humbly aware that this fruit wasn’t mine alone.
My husband and I did not labor in solitude for this bountiful harvest we so exuberantly reaped.
This fruit belongs to many investors in their lives.
It belongs to older siblings who have modeled the gospel for them, displaying (through all the love and messiness of daily life) the reality of a God worth knowing.
It belongs to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends who have prayed for them, nurtured them, and lived out-loud faith before them.
And it belongs to one more group that’s often overlooked.
Overlooked and underpaid.
Overworked and under-appreciated.
This fruit belongs to children’s ministry workers in our local church.
It belongs to every Sunday School teacher they’ve ever had. The ones who share Bible stories and reward memory work. providing endless amounts of snacks and coloring sheets and Play-Doh.
It belongs to every AWANA worker. Those who listen to kids reciting Bible verses, share memorable devotionals and encourage them all along the way.
It belongs to every Children’s Church leader, modeling worship of the only One who is worthy of it, and teaching kids about the God who wants to be with them.
It belongs to every children’s choir teacher. The ones who teach hymns, choruses, and praise music – tuning little hearts to sing His grace, and showing them the beauty of lips that sing ever, only for their King.
It belongs to the countless Vacation Bible School servants who willingly sign up for a week of fun, craziness, and exhaustion because they realize the eternal value of a short, intense season of saturating kids with the gospel.
It belongs to the nursery workers whose hands pour forth Christ’s love. Because as infants – when they were still too young to know Him – they experienced His love through these nurturing women for hours upon hours.
It belongs to the coordinators, directors, and pastors – the ones who are ever-vigilant and ever-faithful behind the scenes, equipping, organizing, and planning.
And so to all of you who fill these roles in churches around the world, I would like to offer my very sincerest and deepest gratitude.
Thank you for investing in children. For selflessly giving your time, your energy, and your resources because you see the value of this Kingdom work. There are many ways you could spend your time, and I’m completely thankful that you pour so much of it into sharing the gospel with children.
I know you sometimes grow weary in the work.
I know you face frustrations and discouragements.
I know you feel overwhelmed.
But take heart! Don’t give up! Press on!
While you may sometimes be granted a glimpse of the fruit you’ve worked so hard for, there’s so much more you’ll never see.
But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
I Corinthians 15:57-58