This post continues Steve’s story about resisting God’s calling and finding spiritual purpose by becoming like a child. As Jesus says in Matthew 18:2 “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Why did I start sitting in the front of the church during worship?
My three young daughters, my unencumbered smiling children, pulled me to the front. They got used to going to the front of the sanctuary for the children’s message on Sunday mornings. Also, we attended a small informal young family service on Thursday nights that was held in the front of the church. My wife Brenda, who worked weekends was able to attend that service with us. The service focused on families, through children friendly songs, sharing joys and concerns, celebrations and a message. God’s children were the focus and felt fully accepted and welcomed.
One Sunday morning we were running late and the worship service was about to begin. The girls ran up to the front pew, turned around, and looked at me standing beside a pew half way back. They started waving me forward. I started motioning them back. This went on for “awhile”. The minister was smiling and the congregation was watching this family interplay go back and forth.
One of my daughters finally said, No Dad, we want to sit in the front! I had a choice to make. All those years of regrets of not listening to God’s call hit my heart. Was I going to let our children stay on their journey of being close to Jesus or was I going to move them back? What was my heart telling me to do? I walked up to the front and sat down. Love won! And I smiled. And Jesus smiled. And I remembered Jesus’s words …..
Matthew 19: 14 “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of heaven belongs.”
That move to the front changed my life. Sure it was still difficult for a while when the pastor called us to come forward and pray or recommit our lives to Jesus…but I always stood up and crossed the few feet to the pastor. Now there is no hesitation in making that choice.
Jesus, thank you for continuing to call me to be more like a child and for our children who wanted to be closer to you!
Questions for Self-Reflection
- Does Jesus want you to feel welcome in Church?
- Do you feel welcome in worship?
- What part of the service do you like the most?
- Do you ever feel like others are holding you back in church? How?
- What does Jesus love the most about you?
This post was written by Steve Wakefield.
Steve is married to Brenda and has three talented and creative daughters. He is a graduate of Wabash College. Recently retired from a business career in operations, he enjoys writing, reading, cooking, and traveling. Steve has been active in the youth ministry program at Grace United Methodist Church for the past 24 years. For ten of those years he was the part time Minister of Youth. One of the highlights of that tenure was leading seven national and three international youth mission trips.
For further reflection, read more on what the Bible says about faith and how what Jesus say about children and the kingdom of God.