Sunday, January 31, 2010

Time for the Least

It was 10:40, twenty minutes past when my "relief" was to have arrived. I wanted to be in the worship service, caring for my own children, enjoying the music. But instead, I was still working the front lines, doing duty in the 4 year old Sunday school classroom.

Most days, I love my job. Mark and I teach the 4-year old class Sunday School class each week. It is a joy and a challenge. But this morning, my heart was not in it. And my heart was hardening with each minute that my escape was being delayed.

After some reordering of rooms, the teachers for the next hour came in and I readied for departure. A small hand tugged at me. "Can you read me a story?" "Just a sec.." I said, without giving it any thought.

I prepped the next teachers, giving them the lesson plan and a rundown of the schedule. I grabbed my stuff and turned to leave. Then the small hand found my sleeve again. "Can you read me a story now?" "Oh, I'm sorry, I guess we didn't have time. I'll read to you next week."

Tears welled in the gentle trusting eyes. I had broken the heart of an innocent child. I had used quick words and a quick promise to cast what I deemed an irrelevant request.

I sat down slowly, took the child on my lap, and asked which book we should read.

"Let the Little Children Come to Me" Stories of Jesus and the Children.

I opened the first page, it wasn't a simple three word story book. This was a detailed account of the work of our Lord in the lives of children. I was tempted to skip a line here and there to make the story quicker. I just hoped she couldn't read well enough to notice.

But I looked at the drawing of Jesus, welcoming children, taking time for children, serving and saving children. I don't think He would have skipped lines just to make it to the worship service faster.

I could still hear the worship music drifting out from the sanctuary, but the draw suddenly wasn't as great. I still longed to be with my own children, but they had Daddy with them in the pew, and he loves them as deeply as me. Right then, nothing mattered but this one small child, and a simple book about the Jesus who loves children.

Lord thank you for moments like these that slow me down and cause me to remember what really matters. Thank you for loving the children, all the children of the world.

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