Three Things Children Can Teach Us About Being Christlike
May 15, 2018
By Laura Shepherd
I turned 23 this week, and I am beginning to feel the pressures of “adulting” more than ever before. Urban Dictionary defines “adulting” as “being able to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals.”
As I compare experiences with friends who are feeling the same growing pains that I am, I’ve come to notice the difference between our earthly responsibilities and our Christian responsibilities. Jobs are often a hot topic for discussion among my age group and I always count my blessings when I think about how lucky I am that my worldly “job” aligns with my responsibilities as a Christian.
During the week, I am a part of the Communications team at the East Cobb campus. On Sundays, I am the preschool coordinator for the North Campus. While some might think these two roles are mutually exclusive, a few weeks ago I found myself in a moment of reflection, thinking about how intertwined they’ve been thus far.
Our communications team has been focused on promoting Mt. Bethel’s One By One initiative. #Whosyourone is meant to be a reminder that sharing the Gospel is a responsibility we have as Christians—a duty that is expected of us as fully developed individual Christians.
Meanwhile, I have learned a few lessons from my sweet preschoolers at the North Campus who remind me that “adulting” does not always equate to Christ-likeness. There are countless moments when my precious two, three, four, and five-year-olds exhibit the purest form of what it means to be Christ-like. As I think about our #whoisyourone initiative, a few specific moments from the North Campus Family Celebration and Egg Hunt replay in my mind. Here are three things the kids taught me about transforming lives one by one.
- Always Be Eager
Adults get complacent and comfortable. Children are adventurous and eager. Children don’t wait for every detail to be perfect or for the stars to align just right. In this case, most couldn’t even wait for the word “go!” No one cared that their shoes were grassy, or the sun was too bright, or there were too many bugs. They took off with excitement and energy! I crave this passion of pursuit when it comes to transforming lives. The older I get, the easier I find it is to make excuses as to why not or procrastinate. I want to be as eager as a child waiting to be released onto a field of candy-filled eggs when I am on the hunt for members of God’s kingdom.
- Search for the Least and Lost
When a child came upon an egg that was cracked or covered in red clay and grass, did they reject it and toss it back onto the field for someone else to find? No! They picked it up and placed it in their basket as a treasure, along with their other eggs. Not one child cared about the color, shape, size, or condition of the eggs. In my pursuit of people, I pray to see as a child does. It’s easy to invest time and energy into people we want to be like. I spend countless hours a week building relationships with those who have already been found. I pray the Lord to leads me to the broken and lost and I would treasure them just as I treasure those who have been made whole already.
- Hold on Tight
At the end of the hunt, the toddlers (two and under) could exchange their “special eggs” (empty eggs) for a goody bag. The first toddler who collected his eggs was brought over to the table by his mom to make the switch. When he realized what was happening, he immediately clung tightly to the two eggs he was holding in his hands. As his mom tried to explain why trading the eggs for a bag of goodies was better than keeping the empty eggs, I had my biggest revelation of the day: as a Christian, I am all too ready to bring my good deeds or acts of kindness to God in exchange for a prize.
#Whoseyourone isn’t about seeking out recognition for a job well done or taking on a new “project” to complete. We are compelled to love like Christ so that this life can be transformed for the glory of God, not ourselves. This initiative is not a six-week Bible study or intense weekend retreat. There will be no party at the end to celebrate the time, energy, and resources put into this. Transforming lives requires a commitment to a potentially thankless job.
Lives are transformed when we are so eager to build the kingdom of God that we won’t even wait for someone to tell us to go. Lives are transformed when we are seeking the broken and lost just as much as we seek the Lord. Lives are transformed when we hold on tight to our one even when it’s easy to give up. This initiative is not for the weak or faint of heart—lives are at stake here, and there is no earthly prize to be won. I believe that if we can pursue with the maturity of an adult and the spirit of a child, lives will be transformed.