Round eyes, chubby cheeks, and a cowlick at the back of her head, she purses her lips in concentration.
Across the table, squirms a delightful, mischievous, grinning little boy.
They both turn towards me as I begin to speak, to tell a story that’s not just a story. It’s the best and the truest story ever told. It gives hope as well as tragedy. It grants peace as well as a sword.
It’s the story of Jesus.
And these children, these knobbly kneed, energetic little people are the most precious resources we have as a church. Around this Bible class table sits our future preachers and songleaders and perhaps a deacon who will quietly go into widows’ homes and fix plumbing and appliances. Around this Bible class table sits our future elders and our future servants. People who will bring food to the sick, who will sit and cry with those who have lost loved ones, who will kneel in prayer over lost souls. Around this Bible class table sits a future missionary, willing to take the gospel to the depths of the Ecuadorian jungles or the plains of West Africa. Around this Bible class table sits the future of the church – not my church, not yours, but Christ’s church.
I know we are losing our young people – and sometimes our middle aged and older people too. I know.
But here is our chance to start from the ground up! Here is where we plant the seed of the gospel, the seed of hope.
Yes, we should be teaching in our homes. I’m not arguing that. But Bible class is a unique place. A place where my children and yours can see that this Christianity thing isn’t just for Mommy and Daddy. It’s not just some strange habit we picked up.
It’s life changing, whether you are the preacher or “just” a member (aren’t we all “just” members?). It’s stirring and passionate, whether you sit in the pew and quietly, inobtrusively serve or whether you get up in front of hundreds to lead in a worship service. This Christianity, this calling, is our life.
And so, in a Bible class, a child can learn from her spiritual grandparents and aunts and uncles. She can learn from their wisdom and experience. She can watch with her innocent and yet wise eyes that being a disciple of Jesus is the best thing there is. She will learn that she is valued, important and has the most precious mission on earth: to carry on the work of God’s kingdom.
So, whether you have children or not, whether you are old or not, whether you are a newly blood bought Christian or a gray haired, battlescarred disciple, won’t you please consider teaching and influencing the best and most precious resources we have? If not you and I, then who?