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“…18, 19, 20.  Yes, they’re all here!”

“…17, 18, 19.  Oh, no!  I only counted 19.  Who’s missing?”

I spent the past few days helping with Vacation Bible School as a leader for one of the Kindergarten classes.  VBS was great and our kids were awesome!  Not to worry, no children went missing—for long anyway!  LOL

Helping with VBS was so much fun.  The children were a joy to be with and had such sweet hearts!  Each day they came in eager for more stories, crafts, songs, games, and of course, snacks and playground time.  Even though few knew each other in the beginning, everyone got along well and had a good time together.  They listened to the Bible teachings, participated in discussions with good comments and questions, and had open, trusting hearts.  They inspired me as I realized God wants us to do all of those things for Him!  The Bible does say we should have childlike faith.  Just saying.

Perhaps the most challenging task we had leading our  young group of children was keeping track of them!  Some were good to stay close to us, stay in line or hold our hands, and pay attention to where we were going as we went to each activity.  Others were easily distracted and prone to wandering off, and some had their own ideas of where they wanted to go. (That’s why we were constantly counting kids!)  Some wanted only to be the line leader, pouted when it wasn’t their turn to do so, and had a hard time accepting that we take turns so that everyone gets a chance to be a line leader or a line ender.  In the beginning no one wanted to the line ender, the person who walks at the end of the line.

Perhaps keeping track of us is the most challenging task we present for God, too.   He knows where He wants to take us and where we need to go.  Some of us follow, staying close to the Lord, willing to go as He leads.  Some even reach up to take His hand.  Others try to follow, but are easily distracted, and need constant prodding to keep them going the right way.  Then there are those who have their own ideas and go their own ways.  They wander off, sometimes not knowing they have lost their way.  While many are in line with God, others have run off to follow their friends, play on life’s playgrounds, or simply chosen to go their own way.  Does God have to stop as often as we did to line everyone up and count heads?

The Bible tells the Parable of The Lost Sheep (Luke15:3-7).  So Jesus used this illustration: “If you had one hundred sheep, and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it?  And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders.  When you arrived, you would call together your friends and neighbors to rejoice with you  because your lost sheep was found.  In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! 

After the past few days in VBS, I understand the joy of finding the sheep who lost his way!

As Christians, our responsibility is not only to follow, but to help others follow, too.  Sometimes that means stepping forward to be leader when God calls us to do so.  Other times it means walking alongside others as part of the group and not pouting because someone else was called to be the line leader.  Other times we must be the last one in line and serve as the line ender.  Remember me telling you that at first none of the children wanted to be the line ender?  They didn’t want to go last because they didn’t know what an important job it is.  The line ender must keep careful watch of others to make sure no one wanders off and gets lost.  Those who learned how important the job was were less interested in being “first” and were asking to do the job!  Helping others stay in line with God also means taking turns, giving everyone the opportunity to serve, help, lead and keep watch.

We all have to work together, staying in line with Christ, acknowledging Him as our ultimate Line Leader who also goes behind us to make sure no one gets lost, and helping Him when someone does go astray, so that when God is counting kids (us), He can rejoice and say, “Yes, they’re all here!”

Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to help with Vacation Bible School this week!  What a great time I had!  The children were precious.  I love each one and will miss seeing them.  Thank You for the lessons they taught me and the blessings I received from being part of VBS ministry.  Lord, I pray for all who will take part in VBS programs this summer – the children, youth volunteers, and adults.  May all be blessings to others and may all be blessed by their experiences.  I pray that all of us will continue to grow in faith and our love for You.  I pray that especially for the children.  May they remember the things they learn in VBS and keep Jesus in their hearts.   In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

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