This past Sunday night at church, I wanted to tell the kids a different idea of love than they are usually presented with. I get tired of love used to express feelings and emotions without any thought of sacrifice, total acceptance, and commitment. I used this general idea to give the lesson at Sunday Night Kids.
I started the lesson by asking the kids how they would recognize a random Christian walking around town. They many answers like “They love Jesus” or “They go to church”, but I wanted something different from them.
I told the kids a story from when I was working at Office Depot. The employees that worked with me at the store knew I was a Bible college graduate and a former minister and often asked for my perspective on spiritual issues. It was good to have the conversations with everyone from college students to retired military. One of their biggest complaints was that Christians act like everyone else so there must not be any compelling reason to attend church.
So, this minister comes in on a Friday to pick up his church bulletins from the copy center. His copies were printed slightly off-center and a bit crooked. The girl who made the copies had obviously messed up and church bulletins are almost impossible to fix once they are wrong. This minister was going to have to bring his off-centered and crooked bulletins to his congregation on Sunday morning. He was not happy at all. We gave him the copies for free, but his originals were beyond repair. He probably lost $5.00 worth of bulletins that day and some time explaining to his congregation about why they were messed up.
The minister got very angry at the college student working at the copy center. He called her incompetent, dumb and many other things. The damage he did to her view of Christianity wasn’t worth $5.00 of bulletins. If some random person was walking by and did not know he was a minister, they probably would not have even thought he attended church. I explained to the kids that everyone has bad days and Christians are no exception, but there is no excuse for how we treat people.
I wanted the kids to know that Christians should be visible by our irrational love. I read from 1 John and told them that we can’t truly understand love until we understand that God is love and his love for us was shown through Jesus on the cross.
I told the kids that marriage is a big deal and men (because I was speaking) are called to an extremely high standard of love and commitment. Men are told to love their wives as Christ loved the church. We are to sacrifice and give in order to make sure our wives are growing closer in their relationship with God. If necessary we are to die to ourselves in order to make sure our wives experience God’s love.
One very perceptive girl asked, “Have you ever seen anyone die for someone else?”
I thought for a few seconds and answered. “Yes, but I can’t tell you about it without crying.”
Then, without answering, I just started crying and was unable to speak. It took me about 30 seconds to get any kind of voice in my throat.
I told her (voice cracking like I’m going through puberty),
“I’ve seen people in our church give up their lives and die to other people. I saw Cliff Hollis put his life on hold for 3 years while he cared for Jill, until she passed away. Yeah, I see it all the time . . ."
I really appreciated his thoughts and wanted to share them with all of you. I hope that we are all known for our irrational and unexplainable love for others, rather than the predictable "love" we share only on February 14th.
Thank you Christacular for being a man who loves deeply. xoxxo