A lot of people think kids work, especially for the under 5’s, on a Sunday is about babysitting; allowing parents to meet with God without having to worry about their children, simply supervising their play and going on countless toilet trips. In some respects it is. But it is also a whole load more. For me that time I spend with the children on a Sunday morning is an opportunity to tell them about Jesus and build on the knowledge they already have from home. It is a chance to get them thinking about big questions and to develop a foundation for their future spiritual life.
Today I led a session about heaven for 3-4 year olds. We had a great time discussing what we thought heaven might be like and pretty much decided that it would be a hot place with paddling pools, singing, chocolate and the odd digger doing some building work here and there. But we also thought about the best thing about heaven: being with Jesus. Here I was blown away. One told me Jesus was in her heart, another wanted Jesus in his house and I got to talk to talk to him about the fact that even though we can’t see Jesus we know he is with us, that when we get to heaven we can meet him and even that there are lots of people in the world who don’t know Jesus and won’t get to meet him in heaven. He then asked how we get to heaven because he really wanted to see Jesus now.So getting to talk to them about the omnipresence of God and our calling as evangelists to 3-4 year olds was awesome.
But for me the session hit home hard. They taught me so much about child-like views on God – when was I last that excited about going to heaven and seeing our creator face to face. When was the last time I was completely blown away by what Jesus did for us so that we can enter heaven and be reunited with our Father? When was the last time I considered what heaven will be like and be so desperate to be there that I was prepared to leave everything on this earth right now to go? In Philippians 1, Paul says “for to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Phil.1: 21-24 NIV) When was the last time we can say we truly desired to ‘depart and be with Christ’ – not just wanting our earthly problems and struggles to end (and be in a time with no more tears, no more pain, as we read in Revelation) but simply because we just desire to be continuously with Jesus? When was the last time we felt that being with Christ was better ‘by far’ than anything we experience on the earth. Maybe for you that has always been the case. For me, it has given me a lot to think about. I often find I get so caught up in this life, asking for help to keep going, to fight battles and to do the work I feel I am being called to do that I forget where my real home is.
We need to take time out of our busy lives to remember where we are going and to grow that desire to be with Christ for eternity, to become humble and remember the price that was paid to allow us to do that and to develop a heart that longs and works to bring others along with us to heaven (after all, the desire to evangelise is lessened when we aren’t heaven-focused ourselves)
And, I don’t know about you, but I reckon if there is a paddling pool, singing, chocolate and a load of diggers in heaven then Jesus will be right there alongside us having a great time too. An eternal summer party with Christ sounds good to me.