As we begin a new school year I want you to ponder my friend, Tom Butts’ article
“Consider the Children” that he wrote October 9, 2003, when he was the pastor at FUMC, Monroeville, AL. School starting reminds us how precious the children are.
Children are usually honest, painfully honest, until we teach them to lie. After the church service a little boy said to his pastor: “When I grow up I am going to give you some money.” “Well thank you,” the pastor replied, “but why?” The child said: “Because my daddy says you are one of the poorest preachers we have ever had.”
A wife invited some people over for dinner. At the table she turned to her 6 year old daughter and said: “Caroline, would you like to say the blessing?” “I wouldn’t know what to say,” the child replied. “Just say what you hear Mommy say,” the wife answered. Caroline bowed her head and said: “Lord, why on earth did I invite all the people to dinner?”
Three little girls were playing church and decided to do a wedding. The child who chose to be the minister stood before the “bride and groom” with book in hand and began by saying: “You have a right to remain silent. Anything that you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided. You may kiss the bride.”
Children are funny, unsophisticated, and painfully honest—often out of ignorance. They are a great joy and sometimes an unbearable pain. They brighten and complicate our lives. There are times in which we are sure they came directly from God, and there are times in which we would like to send them back. They are our most important possession. They are our greatest family and national asset. Where children are concerned, everything else pales into insignificance.
There are defining moments in life in which we have to make painful choices about what we will hold onto and what we will turn loose. One of the great story-telling preachers, the late Dr. Fred Craddock, has a story about one of his schoolmates who spent many years ministering in China. He was under house arrest when the soldiers came one day and told him he could return to America. The family was celebrating and the soldiers said, “You can take 200 pounds with you.”
They had been there for years! 200 pounds! They got the scales and started the family arguments—two children—wife and husband. Must have this vase... well, this is a new typewriter... what about my books... what about our toys... They weighed everything and took it off—weighed and took off—until they had it right on the dot—200 pounds.
The soldiers asked if they were ready to go and they said, “yes.” “Did you weigh everything?” they asked. “Yes.” “Did you weigh the kids?” “No, we did not.” You’ll have to weigh the kids.” In the blink of an eye—typewriter, vase, books, all became trash. Trash. It happens. Take care of the children.
Blessing of the Backpacks will be available in 8:15, 11:00, La Jornada, and Celebration services this Sunday, August 21.