We’ve established that I’m accident prone, correct? So, I was baking a loaf of bread today and I was really worried about making sure that I didn’t burn it. I had it in a crock in the oven and you are supposed to bake it with a lid then without a lid, it’s got a lot of directions. Anyway, so I removed the lid, set it aside, closed the oven back up. Then, promptly grabbed the lid in all of it’s 450 degree glory and effectively singed the fingerprints off of three of my fingers on my right hand. Ironically, I didn’t burn the bread. I’m thinking I could probably adopt a new identity now, seeing as how I no longer have fingerprints. Although, I don’t know what good a new identity would do me. If you can’t tell, I’m being a drama queen, it’s really not that bad. I mean, it’s kinda bad, but not adopt a new identity bad.
So, as I mentioned previously, VBS was this week. Is VBS a globally known term? When was the concept of VBS even started? I think I need to look this up. Vacation Bible School. It’s kind of weird when you think about it. It’s a vacation school where you learn about the Bible? I feel like these words don’t all really fit together. On to my point though, this year for VBS, we planned a fishing theme. And when I say we, I mean I talked while my dad listened and nodded. And you want to know where this plan was made? Out on the lake. While we were fishing. Sometimes inspiration just hits, what can I say?
I decided on Fishers of Men, then told my friends about how I wanted a boat and fish and props and nets and minnow buckets. So, Jesse got to work on building us a boat. And, let me tell you, it. is. awesome. The kids loved it!
I talked my dad and a couple other guys into being our storytellers. They were men from Galilee who ran a bait shop during Jesus’ time and told us all firsthand stories about Jesus’ ministry on the water. One little girl saw my dad dressed up and with a very serious face, asked “are you God?”
Children’s ministry is so funny. Those little guys are honest and just say what they think. Sometimes I wish as an adult, I could do that. Sometimes, I’m thankful that I can’t. As Spring has passed and Summer has arrived, it has given me some time for a fresh perspective and I think raising kids and raising fruit trees has got to be a lot alike. I guess I should preface this by saying I’ve never raised a child and I’ve planted only a few fruit trees, so maybe I’m not an expert. And maybe they’re completely different.
What I do know about kids I’ve mostly learned from children’s church. Children’s church seems to bring out the best and worst in personalities. I know this from having been raised in the same children’s church program that I now help teach. I think I was in the program until I was around 10-12 and started teaching the little ones when I was 13-14, so I’ve been at it for awhile now. Let’s just say I’ve been around long enough to now be teaching the children of the children I grew up in children’s church with.
Fruit trees are a different story. I planted a single peach tree about 7 years ago. And it’s basically dead. I think I’m finally ready to admit defeat with that one. However, I planted 6 new trees in October 2012 and 5 have survived. So, maybe I’m learning.
The thing about fruit trees is that it takes a long time to see any progress with them. They bloomed beautifully last year, but produced no fruit. This year, ever faithful, they bloomed again. And, be still my heart, there are little peaches and pears appearing on the branches. Whether they’ll last through the summer and til harvest remains to be seen. But the sight of those tiny fruits make the effort of planting seem worth it already.
We have one mature fruit tree on our farm. It’s a mulberry tree that I harvested a lot from last year. And guess who planted it?
No one had any desire to harvest mulberries, no one toiled to dig a hole, no one watched the tree come up expectantly, waiting year after year for the bounty of berries it would produce. Instead, it was probably a leftover seed, dropped years ago by a bird flying overhead. And now I get to collect what nature so generously left behind.
Our children’s church and youth ministry have gone through phases of abundance and times of little to no activity. Recently, we saw the children’s ministry, which had been a thriving branch, drop off to nearly nothing. But, as Spring is like to do, we saw new growth. Kids are coming, ones who have never been in church before, who have not heard much , if any, about Jesus.
And who planted these seeds? Who prepared and watched patiently as these little trees were planted? I plan and I try to do the best I can. But, it is ultimately the Lord who sends the harvest. I get so focused and so tied up in programs and lessons and crafts and games and everything else that comes along with children’s ministry. And sometimes I forget, it’s not me who sends the rain, it’s not me that brings about growth, it’s not me who plans the harvest. It is the Lord.
VBS was good this week. We didn’t have astounding numbers, we didn’t have anything new or flashy. But, we did have some kids who were hungry. Not hungry physically (although we had those kind too) but hungry for something they don’t even realize yet. You can see it in their eyes. They’re searching. Their little hearts are wanting more. And if there is one child who comes, who is seeking the Truth, I want to be the one there to show it to them.
Because, you know what? Someone was there to show it to me. We talked with the kids this week about “the call”. That call from Jesus to come follow Him. And you know when I got that call? When I was their age, at VBS, sitting in the same pews they were sitting in this week, hearing the same Truth they heard. I was them. My heart was hungry for something this world could not give me. But, that week, I found what I needed.
The Lord is faithful for a harvest. So, now, we wait patiently and watch these little seeds grow.