Posted by: glorifyhim1 | May 4, 2010

He Knows Me!

This past Sunday I had the privilege of attending church with my son and daughter-in-law at their church near Atlanta, Georgia. Near the beginning of the service the pastor called all the children to gather at the front of the church to listen to a short children’s sermon. The kids eagerly made their way to the front of the church and jockeyed for position around the pastor. The church was having a communion service on this particular Sunday, so the pastor began to tell the boys and girls about the last supper that Jesus shared with His disciples. Near the end of the pastor’s story, one little girl interrupted and stated matter-of-factly, “All this talk about eating is making me hungry!” Chuckles rippled through the congregation, but without missing a beat, the pastor simply responded: “I know. It makes me kind of hungry, too.” Then he proceeded to finish the story with a few more interruptions including a discussion about what that thing was in his ear (microphone).

Later as I thought about the service, I realized how much that brief children’s sermon time had spoken to me. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the pastor’s message, music, and the entire worship service, I guess on this particular Sunday morning I really needed to hear what the pastor communicated to those kids – not just by what he said, but what he did. Let me explain.

First of all, most of the kids who participated in the children’s sermon sat together in the front middle pews of the church. A few children’s workers sat with them along with the pastor. That’s right – the pastor. First, he greeted the congregation, then he took his seat with the children during the music and beginning activities. How is that for communicating to those kids that they are important?

Another thing I noticed is how the kids wanted to be near him. As they gathered around him for the children’s sermon it was evident that they wanted to be there. They wanted to be close to him and were eager to hear what he had to say.

I also observed how he talked to the kids. He didn’t look at the congregation and glance down at the children occasionally. His focus was entirely on the kids. He would look straight into their eyes as he talked to them. Neither did he glance around anxiously as they talked, but he looked straight at them – even when they said things that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with what he was talking about. Those girls and boys knew they had the pastor’s full attention.

And finally, I noticed how he called every child by name. As he responded to each child, he would always mention their name. Not only did those kids know they had the pastor’s attention, but they also knew that he knew them – he called them by their names.

Wow! As I thought about this short 5-10 minutes, I couldn’t help but think how I communicate with my kindergartners every Sunday morning. I have 45-60 minutes and I know that sometimes I fail to communicate as effectively as he did in just those few minutes. I try to stay on task, accomplish goals, and be sure I say the right things to encourage life application. Yet, although I need to do all of these things, I sometimes fail to give each child my full attention. I get sidetracked about getting things done and begin to concentrate on the session rather than the kids.

But not only did this short children’s sermon speak to me as a teacher, it also spoke to me spiritually. I think that this pastor was a beautiful representation of how our Heavenly Father responds to us. Our Father draws us to Him. There is a longing in each of our hearts – whether we recognize it or not –  to be in relationship with Him. Those kids wanted to be close to the pastor. They wanted him to notice them, listen to them, and respond to them. And he did – just as our Heavenly Father responds to us.

No matter how many times I may have turned away from God, or did something wrong that made me ashamed to go to Him, He does not turn away from me. He wants me to come to Him and will continually draw me to Him. He wants me to talk to Him and I have learned that it is ok to ask questions, to tell Him how I feel, to beg and plead with Him. He will lovingly listen and even if I say the wrong things at the wrong time, He will patiently wait for me to finish and then gently guide me back to what He wants me to think about or do – just as that pastor dealt patiently and lovingly with each childish interruption.

From watching this pastor’s interaction with the kids, it was pretty clear that he knew most of these children. We have a God who knows us, too – far more intimately than a pastor or any other human being is capable of knowing us. In our fast-paced, success-driven world today, few people really make an effort to truly get to know one another. Yet the Bible tells us that our Heavenly Father knows us.

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

You know my sitting down and my rising up;

You understand my thought afar off.

You comprehend my path and my lying down

And are acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

You have hedged me behind and before,

And laid Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is high, I cannot attain it.”

Psalm 139:1-6

 

Not only does our Father know us, but He also loves us. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Jesus shows us the Father’s love. He is our Shepherd. Jesus, Himself, stated in John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His live for the sheep.” He also stated: “I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep, and am known by My own” (John 10:14). In comparing Himself to a shepherd, Jesus had previously explained that when the shepherd of the sheep entered the sheepfold that “the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:3b-4). Jesus is our Shepherd who laid down His life that we might have life, and He will lead us out if we will only listen and follow Him.

I am so thankful that my Father knows me. There’s no need to try to put on or play any games, He knows me just as I am. I am so glad that although He knows me, He loves me still. In spite of the good, the bad, and the ugly things in my life, He loves me. When I bring it all to Him, He will encourage the good things, correct those things that are bad, and He will work on the ugly things until they become something beautiful for His glory. And just as that pastor showed God’s love so perfectly to a bunch of restless kids, may I too show this same kind of gracious, merciful love to others.

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