If you were with us in worship at Shelby Crossings last Sunday, you heard a wonderful testimony from Bonnie Jones. She shared about her inspiring “walk of faith” over many years (she told us how many, but I won’t dare go there myself!),including starting a Christian night-club ministry during the “Jesus movement” days and foster parenting more than three dozen children. It was definitely one of those “wow” testimonies.
But perhaps the most important part of Bonnie’s testimony was how she first came to faith in Christ when she was eight years old. In Vacation Bible School. It made me wonder about how life would have been so different for so many had Bonnie never trusted Jesus as her Lord in that simple VBS. Had her relationship with Him not influenced her own life so much, she wouldn’t have had the influence she has had on so many lives. To borrow from It’s a Wonderful Life, what if she had never been born… again?
That made me think of all the people I’ve known over the years, including some prominent pastors, professors, church leaders and authors–men and women who have profoundly influenced our generation for Christ (including some of you who read this)–who began their own spiritual pilgrimage by trusting Christ during Vacation Bible School. Surely, some came from Christian homes and were already in church, but many were not. No matter, all of their future ministry could be traced back to when some faithful teacher or helper introduced them to Jesus in a local Bible school.
I’m sure you know where this is heading, as we approach our own Vacation Bible School this coming week at Shelby Crossings. How many boys and girls will hear the gospel for the first time next week? How many will we have the blessed privilege to lead to faith in Christ? How many will make decisions to “rock the world” for Jesus?
Even further, how much of a difference for the Kingdom will those boys and girls make over the next 70 years? As each walk by faith, some will start new churches, take the gospel to foreign lands, feed the hungry, care for orphans and widows, lead their families in Christ-like love, and on and on. Just imagine….try to imagine…what kind of impact each one can make as they are transformed by the power of the gospel.
To those many volunteers who will be putting in long hours working in VBS next week: know that you are not just babysitting, or teaching same ol’ same ol’ Bible stories, or herding kids from station to station. You are touching eternity. And only eternity will tell the kind of impact that is made through your selfless service this week.
To those who are reaching out to unchurched neighbors to invite children to come to our VBS, so that we can teach them and love on them in the name of Christ: recognize that God just may be placing you as a link in a chain to reach a child who positively affects our world for Christ’s sake for generations to come. Simply because you cared enough, and were obedient enough, to invite them.
To those who are praying–for the children and their families, for all our VBS workers, and even for the weather: do so with the expectancy that God desires to do things next week that will impact eternity, so that boys and girls (and youth and adults too) will never be the same.
I can’t wait to see what He is going to do. I’m praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday…and all week next week!