Jump Start # 2870
Psalms 119:103 “How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Last week we had our VBS at my home congregation. It was amazing. The kids came. Adults came. Visitors came. The preaching was excellent. The place was decorated to fit the theme for the children. We same those great VBS songs. There was a lot of energy, excitement and joy for those few days.
This was our first big event of the year and the first major task we took on since the pandemic. We were not sure what to expect. We had tons of our church family step up and volunteer to decorate, teach, clean up, move things around, feed the guest preacher, pass out material and help direct folks to where they needed to be. What a powerful team effort. Everyone stepped up and everyone did an amazing, amazing job. And, people came. People came from the community. People came from other congregations. It was a beautiful event and lifted all of our hearts.
And, this past week showed something special to me. Here are a few thoughts:
First, in the culture of change when so many are wanting to always be forward looking and trying different things, it’s nice to go back to some fundamental basic events, such as a VBS. So many of us remember going to a VBS when we were children. Now all these years later, it’s easy to think that we have out grown those traditional things. But to see the delight in those children’s eyes as they were sitting together by age, singing out with all their might, some even shouting the songs, reminded us how good and wonderful this was.
Two of our grandchildren came and went to the VBS with us. Little four-year-old Rylee at dinner one night said to me, “I’m going to Zion, tonight!” She may not have fully understood what all happened on Mt. Zion, but she was excited. On Thursday, after the VBS was over, she was disappointed that she couldn’t go again that night. Don’t underestimate how wonderful simple things are.
Congregations are having to think about gospel meetings, lectureships, VBS and other events that have been held for years and years. Adjustments and changes sometimes have to be made. But don’t give up so easily. Put some fresh eyes to what you need to do. Give it a new look. Use your talents and gifted people around you and see what can be done. Our VBS showed us that after a long year like last year, people are wanting to get out and be together in a spiritual atmosphere.
Second, the good it does for these little hearts is amazing. I was watching those little ones singing and singing with smiles on their faces. What would become of these little ones? In just no time, it seems, they’ll no longer be little. They will be finishing high school, off to college, falling in love, starting their careers, and having their own families. I wondered how many would remember, years from now, those songs we sang? How many would remember the wonderful lessons that were taught to them? Would this week be something that helped them make the right spiritual choices later in life? Would those lessons help them as they faced dark valleys and challenging times in their lives? God’s word was taught. Little hearts listened. And, the prayers of moms and dads and the whole church is that a lasting difference would stick in their hearts. Long after the papers that they colored were thrown away, the little crafts pitched, would the lessons remain deep in their hearts. That is always the desire of a church as any event is put on. It is always much more than just the moment, but the lasting impact. Long after the visiting preacher goes home, would the lessons remain in the hearts of the audience? Would good come from such things?
Third, putting on something like a VBS takes an army. It is expensive. It takes a lot of hours in preparation, planning and organizing. So much has to be done. But what a wonderful way to get people together and to use their talents for the glory of the Lord. Working together to decorate a room, cut out things to be used in classes, or moving tables and chairs around, puts each other together and joyfully using our muscle and talents for the good of the kingdom. On this side of the pandemic, it was great seeing people giving up their evenings to come and help set things up and get things ready. We missed things like this. And, we missed doing things together.
Fourth, in any endeavor that a church puts forth, first and always is the glory to the Lord. We do things, not to show off, boast or even to look at ourselves. We do these things to honor the Lord. We want people to leave with a sense of the Lord in their hearts. Little ones will learn the books of the Bible and what happened on places like Mt. Zion, but the big ones will learn about how Christ can shape their lives and give them hope in a very dark and depressing world.
God’s word, as our verse reminds us today, is sweet. It’s wonderful to our souls. It’s wonderful to know that the pandemic and doom didn’t win. It’s wonderful to know that God’s word is still treasured among the hearts of God’s people. Don’t let defeat, dark days, and gloom take away your hope in the Lord. Shepherds it’s time to get those sheep heading towards green pastures! Get folks involved. Put some things on the books. Fire the engines up. Encouragement, joy and even excitement can once again fill the air.