(photo stolen from Facebook)
(photo stolen from Facebook)
On my way upstairs to tuck the boys in, I walked over to the small bookshelf beside my bed. I scanned the titles, looking for one in particular: Cosmic Christmas. My eyes stop at the sight of it, I reach for it, open the cover and smile. I remember who gave me this copy. I wondered if he wrote in it? He did:
To Rebecca, Michael, and Jackson,
Rebecca, I can not tell you how much I have enjoyed "Cosmic Christmas." I have read it to my Sunday School and Choirs every year. I have given others copies as gifts. This year to a new believer who is recently divorced (with 3 little ones). Did not know if you still had a copy. But you read it to Michael and Jackson. And Michael you read it to Rebecca and Jackson. And some day Jackson, you read it to your mom and dad.
Merry Cosmic Christmas
I smiled. I felt thankful, blessed and encouraged just by the fact that Ross is my friend. There are some people who warm my heart with just the thought of them. I know what Paul meant when he said: " I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with JOY." (emphasis mine).
The main platform for my relationship with Ross was the three years pre-marriage that Mike and I worked alongside him in the 5th and 6th grade Sunday School room. Mike and I got married, moved off and have been working with kids every chance we get since then. Ross, I'm pretty sure, is still with the 5th and 6th graders. At least he was for years and years after we left. He's recently been working an "I can't tell you what I do or where I do it" job for the government. So he may have had to step down. --However, that's not the point...
I began teaching Sunday school with Ross and Mike because of people like Karen Bench --who happened to by my 5th and 6th grade teacher, Kent Pride (3rd grade), Joan Lynch (Kinder), Cinda Boshart and Sherry Way-crazy (11th and 12th) and Julie Robinson (9th).
These people taught me much, but mainly conveyed to me two things:
1. I was important.
2. This following Jesus thing? It is worth it. It's valuable. It's worth the work.
Not one of them had the perfect teaching method, not many of them were flashy or amazingly cool. They, like Ross, saw value in the little people. They obeyed God when He said, to teach His Laws diligently to the children. They chose not to ignore this command. They didn't pretend discipling was only for people with certain gifting. They didn't look away when it was mentioned that a teacher was needed for the 3-year-olds, hoping no one would ask them point blank. They stepped up, saying, if there is a need and I can meet it, I'm your guy.
Ross has been the guy for years.
I've recently been saddened and frustrated when I look at our kids ministries in our churches and see needs failing to be met. In our churches. Let me say it again. IN OUR CHURCHES. I'm embarrassed to write this. We have nursery directors whose main job is not to plan curriculum, but to beg people to fill empty slots. Often times on a weekly basis. No one will commit to serving for a whole year in a class so weekly our nursery leaders are making phone calls, stopping people in the halls, pulling youth out of the service to work the classes. This is not just our current church, I'm not hating on anyone here, I'm just so sadded that people who speak of following Jesus won't obey him in the most obvious and most tangible way: Loving the least.
My intent with this post was to honor a man who doesn't ask for honor. As I think about how clearly he gets what is important to Jesus, I am frustrated inside that I can't figure out how to get across to people that this "kids ministry" thing is for everybody. Everybody. It's not just for me because I am a mom. It's not just for Ross because he enjoys it. It's not just for Julie because she is gifted in it. Its for all of us because if we get what Jesus is about, then we understand it is about serving the weak, the helpless, the poor, the needy, the ones who can't help themselves. Isn't this what Jesus came to earth to do? If we model our behavior after His then shouldn't we be about taking care of the weak? The nursery at church isn't the only place kids can be cared for. There are lots of opportunities for teaching and mentoring. Right now I'm praying for a man to take Ty out to Lowe's one Saturday a month starting next year. Mike will be busy busy with the AF and I want Ty to have some man time. It's things like this. You were called to do things like this.
The older I get, I am becoming more and more convinced that there is something we can learn from everybody. What I hope we all learn from Ross is this:
- Serving the least of these brings joy. --He smiles every time he talks about his kids.
- Loving Jesus through loving kids is worth your time. --So make it.
- Blessings always follow obedience.
Thanks Ross. You made my night. And I'm pretty sure there are a couple hundred kids who would say you made their year. And one day, when you get home, God's going to say, "Well done. You made it."