Now, I'm not talking about them singing + dancing to Our God Is An Awesome God or memorizing the verses we focused on for the week. I'm not talking about them using their indoor voices or using their manners at snack time... What I'm talking about is something so.much.bigger.
While all of those things are absolutely fabulous, they're not what makes Jesus love us. I think we forget that all too often.
He doesn't love us because we told the truth instead of telling a white lie.
He doesn't love us because we donated to the local food shelf this past winter.
He doesn't love us because we go to church every Sunday.
He doesn't love us because we read the Bible for an hour straight yesterday.
No, He loves us because we are HIS. HIS creation. HIS children. That's it. We can do nothing at all to make Him love us any more or any less.
Romans 8:38-39 says... "Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, nor height or depth, nor anything at all in creation will be able to separate us from God's love through Jesus Christ."
So, what am I talking about, then? What do I mean when I say that these kids' hearts were on fire for Jesus?
I'm talking about 4 and 5 year old's who got it. I'm talking about the innocent, simple understanding they had of God and His undying, unending, unlimited love for us.
I'm talking about the understanding they had of the story they heard about a lame man being able to walk again. About the mercy Jesus offered that man even when he didn't believe. I'm talking about when the teacher of that story asked the kids, "have you ever asked Jesus for forgiveness when you've done something naughty?" and the little girl sitting in my lap looked at me and said, "yes, but Jesus loves me anyway!"
I'm talking about the little boy who retold the story of Jesus turning water into wine by innocently, naively saying, "and guys! He turned regular water into LEMONADE so that we could all have some!"
I'm talking about the kids dancing, singing, and worshipping our King while I tried to contain them all to our little area. I'm talking about sitting down, taking a deep breath, and grinning ear to ear because one of the little guys just placed his little hand on my leg as if to say, "I trust you."
As if Jesus was saying, "I trust you to lead them."
I'm talking about how much my own faith grew last week simply because there was no way that the leaders could control all those energetic kiddos no matter how hard we tried. I'm talking about the fact that Jesus HAD to have been present in order for things to have gone as smoothly as they did.
I'm talking about lives that were changed because of innocence. Simplicity. Silliness.
Matthew 18:3 says... "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like small children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
I've always wondered what Jesus meant by that, and well... I think He taught me the way I desperately needed to learn by using one of my biggest passions to open my eyes, heart, and faith to a whole new world of childlike faith.