This last weekend, we went to work with the Juna Amagara children’s school in Rubanda (fairly close by, also in the mountains). It was a great time of having fun worship/singing together, teaching them to memorize Bible verses to present, songs to present (some even did dances), and we also taught them about hygiene. Many of them do not have parents or have at least lost one parent. It was awesome to be able to have fun with them and see the smiles on their faces and hear them laugh.
Pastor Bernard, our House Administrator, is exceptionally good with kids. He went around high-fiving each kid when we first arrived and you could see how excited they got about it. His youthful energy (despite being 50 years old) is contagious, especially when he dances or leads a song.
Mateyo Fred, one of the ABIDE 2013 students in Kabale, preached on Matthew 19:14,
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
And when I gave our morning devotional before we left, I spoke on Genesis 8:21,
The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
Pastor Bernard likes to talk about how children are not only the leaders of the future, but also the present and we need to stop only thinking of them in future terms because right now matters (does the title of this post make a little more sense now?). I shared what I did that morning in light of Pastor Bernard’s views as well as the Scripture that Fred would be sharing on with the kids to remind them that our impact on them matters. Sometimes we view children as these innocent, little angels who can do no wrong (they know not what they do), but really…our inclinations at birth are evil. We tend to do things that are selfish unless we are taught the opposite.
The more we disregard children and refrain from speaking truth into their lives, the larger disservice we do them. Yes, wisdom comes from experience, but knowledge is often taught. Don’t just assume that children need to experience everything to truly live life. Impart what you have learned when they are able to understand (usually sooner than we give them credit for) so that they might grow to seek the Lord and not have to live through all of the same mistakes that we have.
I had a great conversation this last week over some indian food and one thing we talked about was the understanding of grace from those who know they have sinned much and those who don’t realize how much they’ve done against God. We were able to refer to a friend who has really not done any outrageous things, but has a great understanding of God’s grace. Then we talked about other people we’ve known who have lived sheltered lives and become Pharisaic in their views of grace and others’ sin. We also spoke of people who said they wish they had stories more like ours. This is something that I want to make clear to those reading this who have not made any huge mistakes in life: learn from others mistakes to avoid the pain they bring. I would never wish the hatred that I’ve felt for myself in the past from my sins on anyone ever.
Pastor Bernard referred to Revelation 12:11 last night to explain why our testimonies are so important,
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
It’s not only through Christ’s blood that we wage war against evil, but also through the testimony of others. Let us learn from one another and share our lives so that we might keep others from making the same mistakes we’ve made.
Train up children and leaders for the future now, especially in light of Matthew 6:34.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
If we’re too focused on the future we miss the present. Be where you are and do what you can now; today has enough trouble for you to attend to.