I’m writing this in the middle of a week of Vacation Bible School. I’m exhausted, but so aware of the importance of what happens spiritually for children in one week that I have to write about it! I know you know about Vacation Bible School. It is probably happening at a church near you. If you are involved in a church, you may have been asked to play a role in the grand undertaking. It requires a lot of time, lack of sleep and drain on your energy to help at VBS, but it is worth every sacrifice.
I first started teaching Vacation Bible School when I had children. I wanted to give them the experience as preschoolers, but at my church preschoolers only got to come if their mom was teaching. When my daughter was four years old, I practiced the upcoming lesson I would be teaching with her the week before. At the end of my lesson I practiced giving children the opportunity to accept Christ. I thought Rachel was just pretending when she prayed to accept Christ as her Savior. I was surprised that she left the room and told everyone that she had just accepted Christ. I could see that her decision was personal and real, and all thanks to Vacation Bible School. So, year after year, I sign up to teach. I taught every year that my children were eligible and many times I taught their classes. I loved teaching with friends and getting to know people I would never have met.
While my children were still young I committed to teaching every year even after they were not involved. I did that for many years. It’s easy to have a conflict one year and then not make the commitment the next. It had been a while since I committed to be there every day and take the time to minister to the children. I’m re-convinced that it is one of the most important weeks of the year in the lives of so many children.
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:17). Children are very important to Jesus. Their hearts are open to His word in a different way than adults. I can learn so much about my own walk with Christ by watching the children at my table respond to the Bible stories they are taught. They don’t seem to question them. They don’t try to dissect or argue with their peers about what actually happened. They seem to understand the underlying message which is always—God loves you, trust in Him! It’s also amazing that they memorize God’s word so easily. We gave them a verse to learn every day. They grasp it easily and repeat it on the next day. I’ve really encouraged them to keep Psalm 56:3 in their hearts all their lives: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” I’ve suggested that they still know that verse when they are away from home in their college dorm, or in the middle of a storm, or even after a bad dream in their own bed.
Jesus asked us to pray for harvesters in Matthew 9:37-38. He said the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. I’m praying for harvesters to focus on the summer programs for children this summer at a church near you. Maybe you are one of the workers for whom I will be praying for. Don’t miss out on this tiring, joyful, and blessed opportunity to be part of what God is doing in the lives of children! May there be a full harvest this vacation Bible School season because the workers were many!