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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Let the Children Come

There is a big difference between being tired and burned out.  I am physically tired due to this season of life with a little 16 month old running around.  Zachariah is into everything.  I mean EVERYTHING.  I also have the privilege of homeschooling my oldest boy Dustin.  This also is a task that requires self-sacrifice and huge time commitment.  I don't do it alone, which I am thankful for, but it does mean I have to prioritize my day. The last few days have been crazy to say the least.  We have been trying to get a backyard project completed all summer long and well the timing wasn't perfect but, we finally got a concrete patio poured in our backyard.  The thing about it is that means the dogs, all 4 of them can't be in the yard for 3 days.  In case you don't live in an area that is receiving an arctic blast let me just tell you it's cold, bone chilling cold. Right now it's 11 degrees. Winter blew in and settled in.  So the last few nights I have spent time bundling myself up to take trips outside with dogs who are not leash trained in any fashion to go potty.  This routine of going outside is filled with drama.  It is not an easy feat to take one dog because all four of them want to go at the same time.  Try doing this at 2 am half asleep and trying to keep quiet so you don't wake the rest of the house! I have spent two times now chasing dogs who seem to have a mind of their own and want to taste freedom.  This makes me tired!

I've been working on some ideas for children's ministry at church lately.  I was recently challenged by my husband to figure out why the disciples prevented the little children from coming to Jesus.  Why would they do this?  I mean it's Jesus - the man who heals the lame, sick and blind.  Why would they say we don't want any kids here? It was the disciples telling the parents, we don't want your kids here.

[Matthew 19:13 NKJV] "Then little children were brought to Him that He might put [His] hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them." [Matthew 19:14 NKJV] "But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."" [Matthew 19:15 NKJV] "And He laid [His] hands on them and departed from there."

Looking at verse 13 we have a key word: then. You see Jesus was busy.  He was up over his eye-balls in day to day ministry activities.  Let's face it, He was busy doing miracles, preaching and teaching and traveling.  He had just finished dealing with a question about divorce from the pharisees.  Before that he was in Galilee and traveled to Judea beyond the Jordan.  This was a journey on foot that normally took two and a half days, roughly 70  miles as a straight path.  But this meant going through the region of Samaria.  Jews would take the long route to avoid Samaria.  They traveled the hot desert road from Jerusalem to Jericho, and up the Jordan valley.  This route would be twice as long and much hotter and more uncomfortable. This means Jesus just spent four days give or take out in the desert walking and entered into ministering to the people immediately upon arrival to the Jordan area.

This reminds me of another time the Lord was traveling from Galilee to the Jordan area.  Except this time he traveled through Samaria. Jesus cut right through on a straight path to a well outside of town for an important encounter. There was a woman coming to the well to draw water.

[John 4:3 NKJV] "He left Judea and departed again to Galilee." [John 4:4 NKJV] "But He needed to go through Samaria." [John 4:5 NKJV] "So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph."
[John 4:6 NKJV] "Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from [His] journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour." [John 4:7 NKJV] "A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."" [John 4:8 NKJV] "For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food."

Jesus was tired.  Physically tired from walking in the hot desert sun and now apparently hungry and thirsty.  The disciples go off into town to buy some food as Jesus sits down by the well. It's noon and the well should be vacant, but it's not.

[John 4:6 NKJV] "Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from [His] journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour." [John 4:7 NKJV] "A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink.""
[John 4:8 NKJV] "For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food."
[John 4:9 NKJV] "Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans." [John 4:10 NKJV] "Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.""

The point is this: even though Jesus was weary from his traveling, his teaching schedule and constant discussions with the pharisees he still did the will of the Father.  He was still doing ministry.

Jesus was weary in the ministry, not of the ministry.

[John 4:7 NKJV] "A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink.""[John 4:8 NKJV] "For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food."
[John 4:9 NKJV] "Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans."[John 4:10 NKJV] "Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.""

Jesus goes on to explain to this woman all the details of her life and really takes her to the Living Well. This is in spite of his physical condition.  He worked past it. At the end of the passage we catch a glimpse of how he was able to accomplish this.  The disciples didn't understand.  They thought someone else brought him food to eat.

[John 4:31 NKJV] "In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat.""
[John 4:32 NKJV] "But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know.""
[John 4:33 NKJV] "Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him [anything] to eat?""[John 4:34 NKJV] "Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work."

The secret to not becoming weary of the ministry is to continually do the will of the Father.

[Matthew 6:33 NKJV]
 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

If God has called you to something He will be faithful to equip you as you serve. The hard part is staying committed to the calling.  Continually doing the will of the Father has some amazing benefits both here on earth and later for heaven.

So back to why the disciples were telling parents to keep the kids away from Jesus.  I think the disciples were tired also and just hadn't figured out how to continually do the will of the Father and not be weary of the ministry. One bonus we have now is the power of the Holy Spirit in us to give us power to accomplish His will. There are lots of things in this world that can cause us to become tired. We just have to keep our focus so we don't loose sight of the prize ahead.  In children's ministry it's no different.  It seems like a revolving door.  No one wants the job of Sunday school teacher. The job of teaching kids isn't the most visible position of leadership.  Yet even Jesus wasn't too busy to lay hands and pray over the children.  We shouldn't be either.

[Galatians 6:9 NKJV]
 "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."

So the question I have is how committed are you? Are you weary of the ministry or weary in the ministry? We must take time to seek first the kingdom of God which requires praying, reading the Word and waiting for Him to respond. Let's not loose heart. The children are important.