by Carol McCracken
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Matthew 22:37 (NIV)
When my son was six years old, my husband and I both worked full-time. Connor had a babysitter, Nikki, who loved the Lord. One summer she asked if Connor could attend her church’s Vacation Bible School. My husband and I heartily agreed.
After the first day, I picked Connor up from Nikki’s house and asked how VBS went. With a giggle, she told me Connor knew and loved his Lord. However, he had told her there was no reason for him to look for Jesus in her church because he knew Jesus lived and worked at his church. He did his best to correct Nikki’s theology. Nikki along with a group of her church’s VBS staff, finally convinced him to participate in the program by luring him with snacks and enticing playground equipment. They had four more days to work on him.
We tried so hard to make sure Connor loved God because God loved him first. Never wanting him to doubt God’s mutual love, we unintentionally taught Connor an exclusive relationship with the Lord. He understood his Heavenly Father knew his name, the number of hairs on his head, and that he was a masterpiece. We were delighted at how he took all of that in and deeply loved God back. However, it was clear we needed to teach Connor how to share Jesus, and to understand Jesus came for all His children.
While God wants us to have a personal relationship with Him, He also wants us to share His love with others. Connor had learned the greatest commandment of all quite well. He loved Jesus with all his little heart. That summer he also learned the second commandment, “…Love your neighbor as yourself“ (Matthew 22:39 NIV). Nikki and her church’s VBS staff showed some love to Connor. They brought that little boy to a fuller understanding of what Jesus wanted from us as His brothers and sisters.
A personal relationship with Jesus was never meant to be exclusive. Jesus has enough love for all of God’s children. He remains fully and divinely equipped to have a personal relationship with each one of us. Based on that, He wants us to put others before ourselves to show Jesus’ love to each other. That is a sacrificing kind of love like Jesus modeled in His earthly body.
Though Connor is our only child, we were reminded God has many children whom He loves equally. Thankfully, Connor learned to share that love of Christ. He came to realize Jesus as much bigger than he thought and not confined to living in a single brick and mortar church.
We were so grateful to those who used their gifts, such as Nikki along with the VBS staff, to help us raise our son to know the Lord correctly. Never underestimate the power or influence God gave you to share the love of Christ.
I took that thought to heart and volunteered to help with VBS at our church the next year. Apparently, I mortified Connor with my acting abilities as I taught all his fellow attendees from the stage. The following year, I showed the love of Jesus to others a bit more privately, teaching off the platform and in a small group, and he was able to hold his head up once again.
So, get out there and show the love of Jesus. For Connor and all other children, you could potentially mortify, but use your specific gifting in sharing Jesus’ love wisely. Just use it.
About the author: Carol McCracken has been a Bible teacher for over twenty years. She currently serves on church staff as Adult Discipleship Minister. Her passion is to make the Bible come alive for women and connect it to a real relationship with Jesus Christ in today’s busy and demanding world. She is an AWSA and Destin Word Weavers member.
Carol is a contributor to ChristianDevotions.us, Arise Daily and Mustard Seed Ministries. She published her book Wisdom: Where to Find It If You’ve Lost, Forgotten, Or Never Had It in November 2020. Connect with her at CarolMcCracken.com or on social media.
Join the conversation: What misconceptions about God have you had to correct in your children?