When you serve for any length of time in children’s ministry, especially in the early elementary school years, you quickly learn to anticipate the answer you will get from the kids for any question asked of them. Their response is always Jesus. The louder they shout their response, the more their faces shine. Seriously, no matter what the question is, the kids answer by saying one name: Jesus. Often this response seemingly has nothing to do with the question that has been asked of them. It is simultaneously hilarious, delightful, and insightful.
But these little ones are right. The answer IS Jesus. He is the ONLY answer for what is wrong with us.
There is beauty in their childlike trust, and godly wisdom in their young hearts. As teachers, we teach the kids about God’s mercy and the love of Christ. We model forgiveness in our own relationships and show them the joy we have in Christ and in our salvation. We read the Bible with them, so they begin to learn who God is and what He has done. We teach them to pray to learn wisdom and discernment, and to seek God’s will for their lives. We talk to them about God sightings to help them learn to look for how God is showing up in their lives. We teach the kids to talk to Jesus when they are troubled and to know how dearly they are loved.
We do this even when our own tanks might be running on empty. And where do we as adults go when we are running on empty? We turn to Jesus in prayer. And He shows up in the people around us, reminding us of His presence and His love for us because He understands our weakness. We then respond to this love by reflecting it to those around us, including those little ones with whom we have been entrusted.
“We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19, NIV).
Does any of this make sense? When things are not going well, how can we know that God loves us and rest secure in that knowledge?
We look at the cross, and we remember His promises. We read and meditate on Scripture, taking comfort in God’s great love for us, and we wait in anticipation for Jesus’ glorious return. We pray. We rejoice in the present because God cares so much for us that even in our sin, He sent His one and only Son to die for us so that those who trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior would be saved. Jesus bore our sin and death and died in our place so we would have eternal life. This is the gospel message.
It takes a community of faith to raise a child. There also comes a point when that child will need to make his own decision about what he believes, and how he will choose to live. Baptism does not make the Christian; it is a sacrament that is an outward expression of an inward decision: The decision to trust Jesus is who He said He was, and to follow Him, no matter what comes.
So, who can be saved? It is the one who confesses Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9), and who places his trust in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who came to earth to offer forgiveness of sins and salvation for those who believe. There is no other way. He has promised us this.
And so, we raise up our children and the children in our community of faith as family. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” We share with them the joy we have in Christ, and sometimes we see a glimmer of understanding in their eyes, and the love of Christ is reflected back to us. Encouraged by God’s faithfulness, we continue another day to persevere in teaching these little ones.
By the way, they are 100% right. The answer is Jesus.
Take a moment to look through the eyes of a child. Did you have a God sighting today? How has He shown up in your life?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NIV).