“I didn’t know I could be close to God.” “I had not heard about God yet.” These are two of the responses I received when I asked 1st and 2nd grade Sunday school children if there had been a time in their lives when they did not feel close to God.
Imagine, if you will, being much older than six or seven. Envision being 18 years old and trying to find your place in a university setting. Suppose you are in your 20’s and trying to establish a career. Or, perhaps you are a 30-something seeking to build strong relationships as a spouse, a parent, a friend, or an adult child of a parent with health issues. And what if, at that particular stage in life, you’d never known you could be close to God?
Assume, for a moment, that you have very little concept of God’s Story – virtually no biblical worldview. How would that shape your decisions and your priorities? I don’t know about you, but I can remember that feeling – lost, confused, anxious, stressed – topped off with a veneer of self-confidence and an occasional meltdown. My guess is these words either describe who you are now or who you once were.
If you are just beginning a spiritual journey, take comfort in this verse: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Embrace the concept of “prevenient grace” – the grace that “goes before” – the unmerited favor of God which precedes human action and response to Him. The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, taught that prevenient grace is available to all. God’s desire is for all to enter into life-changing, life-shaping relationship with Him. Find security in the knowledge that God created you; God is for you; God is indeed with you even before you acknowledge Him.
God knows your struggles, your discouragements, and your restlessness. God knows you cannot deliver yourself from the disorder and confusion that marks your life. God brings order out of chaos. He began the process of restoration by entering the world – living the sinless life we are unable to live so that on the cross He could exchange His completeness for your brokenness. Hope is alive and His name is Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you have been a Christian for some time now, but you feel complacent – a bit too self-satisfied – yet with a nagging feeling that something is missing. If so, picture the person you were when you lived outside God’s Story. Then hear these words, “How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:13-15).
Purpose replaces complacency. Because you have been given new life in Christ, you are called to ministry. It may be to a ministry area within our church like Children’s Ministry, Student Ministry, or Community Meals. Or it might be a relational, conversational ministry with co-workers or neighbors. Ask God to send you and be open to His leading. Don’t let another day pass for someone who does not yet know they can be close to God. Don’t let another day pass for someone who has not yet heard of God.
Director of Children’s Ministries