Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lessons from VBS: an unexpected humbling

This week is our church's (and I'm sure many others) Vacation Bible School. I usually have pretty mixed feelings about VBS, sometimes wondering why we try so hard to pull off this huge event for mostly church kids and wanting to just take all those volunteers and money to a few neighborhoods in a different part of town to bless children who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Sometimes the decorations and the prizes and the food unintentionally become the focus and we lose sight of our goal of bringing the little children to Jesus. Sometimes we leave and I feel as though we have taken 2 steps back instead of a step forward. Sometimes I just want to scream: It's not about us- our kids don't need one more thing to entertain them! And sometimes (ok I'll confess, most times) I think next year will be different, or we just won't help or go, but really don't do much to ensure that or even give that input.

But not this year.

No, this year has been different. A lot of things are different, and I won't go into every detail. But can I just tell you how humbled I am to have the priveledge of watching a huge group of believers come together and joyfully serve the Lord and really seek His kindom first. I am amazed and so thankful for the vision that God has given to our children's ministries director and her team to really use vbs as an outreach and opportunity for our children to be a part of God's bigger picture for the world.

*I have seen little ones giving all their savings to help build a school for the children in Mali, Africa.
*I have seen the youth really step up in their roles as servant-leaders and already after only 2 days make a difference in many children's lives (including one of my own). Love you guys!
*I have seen many adults, young and old, sacrificing their time and energy to be there with smiles and laughter and really making God's word come alive!
*I have seen the multitudes of children memorizing & repeating the theme verse Psalm 119:33-34 and the 10 commandments with joy and understanding.
*And I have seen all of the behind the scenes servants who joyfully and creatively use their many gifts to encourage and build up the body of Christ, even when they will never be publicly recognized.

*I am learning that whenever I have my own opinions about something, it's only a matter of time before the Lord is trying to get my attention and whatever pride I could have taken in my warped view- is pretty much shattered!

*I am learning to love to be proved wrong when it comes to these things, because it is what God uses to help me grow and produce fruit eventually. (For those that know me really well, note that I said learning!)

*I am learning that I am not the only one in this town who has a heart for lost people all over the world and who longs for everyone to worship Jesus. (imagine that!)

*I am learning that there are SO many different ways to serve our Lord and I absolutley love to watch the body of Christ with it's many parts function as a whole.

*And I am mostly learning to watch and look for God's fingerprints that are everywhere, before I go and attempt to smudge them with some preconceived idea that I have already thought up. (can we say, ouch!)

Wow, and all this time I thought my boys were going to be the only ones to come home from Vacation Bible School having learned more about who God is. Hmmm, maybe that is why Jesus said in Matthew 18:3-4

"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

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