When ministering to kids, they can easily get distracted sometimes that one might be tempted to think they are not teachable. When conducting small groups, one of the kids in my group often subconsciously turns his back to me, or looks up and around during the interaction, not necessarily being rude, but just succumbing to distractions around him. And when we had ‘Burger Bash’ a couple of months ago, I conducted my small group outside, thus causing even more distractions.
Behind him was someone flipping burgers, and in front of him was an A4-size poster at the church door advertising the ‘Burger Bash’. This posed quite a challenge because whenever he was distracted by the one preparing the burgers, I would have him turn back to face me, only for him to be distracted by the poster. He even asked, with his mouth already watering, if the burger he would buy would be as large as the one covering the entire A4-size poster.
He was sandwiched between two distractions he couldn’t overcome. If he turned away from one, another was waiting to face him in the opposite direction. So it is easy for one charged with teaching or raising such little ones to resign to the idea that maybe these kids are too preoccupied to be teachable.
But this is not so. Come the next week and we were interacting within the small groups again. Their curiosity about heaven led them to ask several questions. You’d expect that as is natural with kids, their longing for and excitement about heaven are the great blessings in store. When speaking about his itinerary when he finally gets to heaven, one of them expressed the joy of being able to play soccer eternally without ever getting tired.
But the kid who had been distracted the previous week had a different response. He had just one desire on his list. He said that the reason he longed for heaven so much is that there will be no more sin! I was tempted to think that this may have been a fluke of an answer. But when I asked him to pray at the end of the small group session, he reiterated the same thing and even thanked God that there would be no more sin in heaven. Such a conviction is undoubtedly rare, even among confessing adults.
Of all the joys and pleasures he could have focused on, he narrowed down to the eternal absence of sin. It is noteworthy that a kid who could barely sit still and focus for two minutes when distracted by his surroundings, was conscious of his own sin and more than anything longed for an eternity without it. Indeed even the kids are persevering.
But should this response from such a young one come as a surprise? In Deuteronomy 6:7 when Moses was preaching to the nation of Israel about God’s commandments, he turned to the parents and instructed them, “You shall teach [God’s commands] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Moses was simply stressing that, “Always be by your kids teaching them about God, because they too need to persevere to the end!”
Doesn’t it naturally follow that if God commands parents to teach their kids about Him that by His Spirit He is able to illuminate His word in them? Why else would He ask this of parents? Kids may be distracted all around by various worldly enticements, but as long as they are taught about God and His salvation through Christ, they will always look forward to one day being in the place where there is no more sin, even though at present their mouths seem to be watering at the unrealistic idea of buying an A4-size burger for just R15.
With God’s word hidden in their little hearts, they are bound to persevere!