by Paula Harrington
I was on a church bus squeezed between two 2nd graders recently when one began showing me the sword he had made out of a large sheet of paper. Out of excitement, he began to stutter and I tried to hide my smile when he blurted, “Paper folding is my life!” My reply was cut short by the child sitting on the other side of me. With a motherly tone, she scolded, “Don’t say that! That’s not your life. Make church your life. Church is my life.”
Her response, even as sweet as it was, bothered me. Now, before you jump to any conclusions let me make myself clear. I love the church. I’ve written article after article on how the church has shaped me and, in some instances, even saved me. I know and respect her as the bride of Christ but when this statement was made, a thought came to mind.
A few weeks ago, this same little girl came to me after school one day very upset. A classmate had tripped her on the playground and knocked her down. I’ll never forget how through tears she stated, “And she goes to church!”
While sitting on the bus the other night, I reminded that precious girl of the incident on the playground and then suggested she make Jesus her life. Jesus won’t hurt her, trip her, or knock her down. He won’t disappoint or depress. I can’t promise her that others will handle her heart with such tender care.
As the bus bounced down the road, I thought about my own childhood. We were heavily affiliated with church but not so much with Christ. I thought about raising my own children and the difficulties of raising children in this day and age. And then, I pondered whether we could be losing our children to the world because for too long, we have been taking them to church instead of taking them to Christ?
Have we taught them that God doesn’t want rituals or traditions? He wants righteousness and truth.
Have we stressed that he doesn’t want our best clothes? He wants our best actions and reactions.
Have we preached that Christianity isn’t about attendance? It’s a complete life change where Christ calls the shots in our lives. Please don’t misunderstand me; church will be a huge part of that, but when we make it the main thing, we fail our children and miss our mission.
I pray that as we raise and influence our kids we will become radical in our desire to teach them about him. I hope that in a dark and broken world, we will not hesitate to take Jesus out of the building and into the brokenness.
It’s time to make Jesus our life and when we do, our young people will notice.