Every Sunday morning I hunker down at a low table with the four and five year olds at my church. Everyone wants a blue chair, and there’s almost always a tussle about something, but eventually, we put the attendance stickers on the bulletin board and settle down to business.
There are crayons and scissors and always (always!) a snack, but central to all we do is a story from the Bible. Quite honestly, this part never goes as well as I’d like. Someone tips over backward in a chair. Someone else interrupts at a crucial point with an insight about a stuffed bunny named Thumper. Often my delivery is not as kid-friendly as it should be.
We’re all unreliable as can be, and the curriculum has flaws that annoy me, but there is one element of this equation that carries the day and keeps me coming back week after week:
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. ” (Isaiah 55:10, 11)
I don’t claim to know what God’s purposes are in the life of each boy or girl I teach, but I know their parents well–and we talk. They ache to see their children embark upon a faith journey that is their very own. They are doing their part at home, and my calling is a support role, a faithful truth-giving so that a growing relationship with God will be based upon knowledge of his ways. While that may not happen this Sunday (or even the next), and while this process may not look exactly the way their parents or I expect, God’s Word will be open and at the center of that noisy little table.
There’s a slow watering that will come from the layer of snow covering my garden on this February day, and there’s a slow watering happening around that low table every week.
The seeds I plant in furrowed rows late in May will land in prepared ground.
And God’s fruitful purpose will be fulfilled where his Word is faithfully given–to our children, to our friends over coffee, and to a rascally bunch of four and five-year-olds sitting in their blue chairs.
That’s good news to this Sunday school teacher.
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