Anna!” My mother called. I didn’t catch it, though. My headphones were on and I was working on exponents. “Anna!!” My mother’s voice broke through a lull on the radio, snapping me to attention.
“Yes, Mom?” I asked as she came in my room. “Mrs. Thomas said it was your turn for the Children’s Care this Sunday.” I took my headphones off. “It is?” I swiveled my chair to face her. Mom nodded. “Yes, and I think you should prepare your lesson early. I’ll be preparing dinner if you need me, ok?” Mom said as she headed out.
“Ok, thanks Mom.” I said as I watched her go. When the door closed, I got up to grab the Bible storybook off my shelf. So I must face the barrage of questions this time, I thought as I began to flip through the book.
My church is small, but rich in its own way. I loved the worship, the sermons, and the Children’s ministry, even when I was asked to help. The children’s questions and thoughts are just.. wasn’t there a show about the funny things kids say?
The last time I helped, however, was.. interesting.
“Oh, boy, I just can’t get their attention.” Mrs. Scott mourned. It was her first time teaching the kids, and their attention span was miniscule. “I know. Let me see what I can do, ok?” I comforted.
“Hey!” I shouted, turning my attention to the kids. I was a kid once and I knew a little how impatient six and seven year olds can be. They didn’t hear. One little girl under the table did, however. “Yes, Anna?” She asked as she trotted over. That kid is so cute.
“Nelly, no one’s listening. Can you call them so we can start coloring? I asked her. “Ok! EVEYBOODDDDYY!!!!!!!!!” Nelly’s voice pierced the air, stunning, me, Mrs. Scott, and the kids, who finally got the point and lifted their heads.
I took advantage of the aftershock and made my case. “Now that you have so graciously listened, it is now time for Mrs. Scott to read the story of the Flood.” For some reason, all the kids groaned. “Do we have to, Anna?” It’s boring.” “I just wanna play!” “I’ve heard this before!” The complaints came. Except from Nelly and Della, who were the youngest, the cutest, and happily coloring under the table.
I grabbled a sheet of paper and a pack of crayons. “Who wants to color?” I said as I waved them in the air. The roar, stomping, and running was deafening. I almost was trampled on by a bunch of eager pre-schoolers. “MEEE!!” The kids cried. Mrs. Scott looked at me dazed.
“Alright, you can color.” I held out the paper and crayons for the kids to take. “If,” I said as I pulled my hands back, “if you listen to Mrs. Scott.” My deal was out. “Aw… ok.” they agreed and sat around the table.
Mrs. Scott beamed at me as I gave the kids paper. “Alright boys and girls. Today we are going to learn about a man named No-”
“Anna?” Ryan interrupted. He ignored my glare and smoothly stated, “I love God!” “Me too.” The other kids said. “I would do anything He asked me to do!” Ryan continued. “Me too.” The other kids agreed.
“That’s, really good, Ryan. Not everyone loves God.” I conceded. Ryan smiled. “But if you love God, won’t you listen to His word?” I asked. He stopped smiling. “Wellll, I don’t have to!” he said a little flustered-like. “Really? But I thought you would do anything God asked you to do!” I replied, feeling a bit pleased I had caught him with his thinking.
Sure enough, I did, but I missed one aspect of childhood reasoning. “Yeah, but God didn’t ask me to listen to Him. You did!” he stated. I wondered if Ryan would ever know how ridiculous he sounded as I mentally banged my head against a really hard rock.
The rest of the hour was wonderful.
Jumping to the present, as I got some tape to throw in the supply bag, I thought a little about Ryan’s statement. He wasn’t the first one to think like that, for sure.
It seems kinda sad that we say we love God but won’t listen or do what He says, I thought.
It seems wrong that we think nothing of it when a swear word slips out.
How will we know what God wants us to do when we don’t listen to His word?
I knew then what I would teach this Sunday. But I would be sure to bring my Bible as well as the storybook.