Spring is in the air—almost. And as an avid gardener, I have great expectations. But first, there’s work to do. After all, gardening involves hard work. Yes, there’s the actual physical work—hauling compost, turning over the soil, hoeing, planting, weeding, etc. But for me, the hardest part of gardening is the waiting. Waiting for spring. Waiting for the last frost. Waiting for the first sprouts to come up. Waiting for the first flowers to blossom. Waiting for the first vegetables to develop. Working and waiting.
In a sense, that is what faithful children’s ministry is all about. It is like gardening. It is a commitment to faithful work and hope-filled waiting. Sometimes it is hard not to be impatient. Every lesson taught anticipates children responding with genuine faith and bearing spiritual fruit. And while it is true that the Holy Spirit may move in such a way to make that happen before our very eyes on any given day, it is also likely that we will not “see” any spiritual fruit at times. Instead, we might see inattentiveness, boredom, indifference, lack of true understanding, and rebellious hearts. In those times it is especially important to hold on to these words from the apostle Paul,
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:6)
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
So be encouraged. Keep preparing the soil of a child’s heart. Keep planting the seed of the Gospel. Water carefully and often with the Word of God and words of encouragement. And then pray that God, in His sovereign grace and perfect wisdom, will bring about a fruitful harvest.
So keep working, because in Christ your faithful labors are not in vain.
And keep patiently watching and waiting, because the Lord of the Harvest is at work!
Looking for an excellent resource on how parents and teachers can be more effective in nurturing the faith of a child? Read Art Murphy’s The Faith of a Child: A Step-by-Step Guide to Salvation for Your Child.