‘Let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.’
Having been in children’s ministry for over 30 years, my husband Ken and I draw strength from the heart of this scripture. Indeed it’s an amazing encouragement for all children’s workers who faithfully set out the chairs, pour the drinks, prepare the craft, organise the games and spend hours preparing lessons and making visual aids.
Not to mention the hours spent on the computer putting together all the PowerPoint presentations and preparing and writing stories.
Nevertheless, one thing is certain – we can be sure that at some point, at God’s appointed time, we will see the rewards for all the hard work we have put in.
I’d like to share some of the encouragements we experienced…
Never give up!
One day Ken and I were shopping and a young woman in her twenties rushed up and gave us the biggest bear hug.
Then she shared how she had come to our January holiday camp every year as a child with her sister and how those camps had changed their lives. She added how they had both had a wonderful encounter with God and that they were determined to serve him for the rest of their lives.
When we asked what they were doing now she said, ‘Why, what you two do, we are both children’s pastors.’ God is so good and at just the right time he sends encouragement when we need it the most.
Never stop giving out!
Some years ago we were speaking at a camp. One eleven-year-old boy was being particularly difficult. I was having a real problem with this boy’s foul language, even worse foul smell and constantly runny nose which he had no problem rubbing on everything except a handkerchief.
I commented to Ken, ‘If that boy wasn’t here we would be having a great camp. He is just too much trouble.’
Ken’s reply was to remind me that Jesus gave his life for people exactly like that boy. I said later that husbands sometimes say the right thing at the wrong times! But after that reminder I looked for every opportunity to love and encourage this boy, even though he didn’t readily show appreciation.
But three days later this boy asked Jesus into his life and some little changes were seen immediately in his attitude and he toned down his language quite a bit.
At the end of the camp he was lying over the table at the front of the hall crying.
I was so glad he didn’t see into my judgmental heart and it reminded me yet again that love never fails.
That boy is now a youth leader reaching out to young boys just like he used to be. Isn’t it so wonderful that God doesn’t think any of us are ‘just too much trouble.’
Once, while teaching Christian Religious Education in Australian state primary schools I was approached by an eight-year-old boy whom I’d been teaching for about five months.
He said that he hadn’t liked me when I had first started to teach. Taken aback I asked why? He said I had been swearing all the time. Well, I just couldn’t believe that my Irish brogue could be so bad to make someone mistake what I was saying as swearing!
The boy then went on to explain that when I’d been ‘saying Jesus’ all the time, he thought Jesus was a swear word. But then he went on to thank me for teaching him who Jesus is and how Jesus had given his life for all the wrong things he had done.
It was such a real eye opener to realise that many children only know Jesus as a swear word. I then decided to find out how many of the children went to church and was shocked to discover that out of a class of 28 children only two put up their hands. One had been to a wedding and the other to a funeral!
Never stop making a difference!
How important it is for us to pray that the Bible can still be taught in our state schools. For many thousands of children it is the only means they’ll have to hear the good news.
You can make a difference – huge difference – in the life of a hurting, lonely child, boy or girl! Just be available to be interested in them and the circumstances that affect their lives.
As one young boy whose path I once crossed said: ‘I’ve finally found someone that understands, supports and helps me. Now through you I just know God must be real.’
I would encourage every child’s worker never to lose heart, grow weary or faint and relax your courage. For you will see great results for your faithfulness.
Dorothy and Ken Gardiner are directors of Life 4 Kids, an interdenominational organisation reaching, teaching, equipping and resourcing the body of Christ. Their unique Divorce Recovery Program For Kids is highly recommended. Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org / 040 756 7933