Vacation Bible School. Summer is that time of year, and I love it! I have held many jobs at VBS, but I have come to believe that the most important responsibility for everyone is to make sure the same number of kids go home that were dropped off.
You chuckle, I know. VBS is supposed to be telling children about Jesus, and I completely agree. But if you have ever been involved with VBS when you came up one child short, you learn very quickly that it is hard to tell a child about Jesus when you don’t know where he is – and parents sure don’t want to hear about Jesus unless they know their children are safe.
My most challenging experience? One year we had finished our first day of VBS. The first day is always the most difficult because you just don’t know the children very well yet. Anyway, all the children were picked up except one. An immediate child-hunt of the premises ensued, as you can well imagine. We looked everywhere. Where was he? A few blocks over. When we did find him, the hollering began. From one person to another all around the area, “We found him!” Thank goodness. The relief and the joy, wow.
Thinking back on the incident though, it makes me think of when Jesus was talking about the lost sheep. Do you remember?
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and gets home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:4-7).
Jesus knew exactly how we felt that day. He feels the exact same way, when he chases one of us crazy sheep down because we just wander off. After my VBS experience, I can imagine the anxiousness of God’s heart and the joy in finding us.
Eternity is for real. God completely understands the seriousness of the situation, and the possibility for injury just as we did for the child. He also knows true joy in one person coming to know the Savior. My prayer is that I have those feelings for those who do not know Jesus – to have a need to share Jesus and then to rejoice when they believe.