Since becoming a first-time grandmother last month, I’ve become more aware of babies and children than usual. Children were again brought to my attention during a recent devotional time when reading Matthew 19:14 where Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” I love how Jesus used physical pictures to convey spiritual truth to his listeners. We must all come to God in simple faith and obedience, like a child, not relying on our own wisdom and accomplishments. But what got me thinking this time when I read this verse was how this basic truth has been played out so vividly in my own life through the privilege of volunteering in the internationals ministry.
Through the ESL ministry at The Chapel, I’ve had the joy of teaching international women, many of whom are highly educated, about Jesus through a variety of Bible studies over many years. These studies are fairly basic, because the vast majority of these women have never heard about Jesus, or what they have heard is distorted. Aside from the pleasure I get from showing them scripture is my constant amazement at the child-like simplicity of their questions as they learn about the Bible and about God, who loves them so much. As they learn about Jesus, their questions are pure and innocent, with no agenda or hidden motives – just a simple desire to understand what they are hearing and reading.
Over the years, I’ve been asked such things as, “What is an angel?” “Who is the devil?” “Why did Jesus have to die?” and, my personal favorite, “Is Jesus Santa Claus?” But the question that thrilled me the most was “How do I do that?” after explaining the gospel and everyone’s need to have their sins forgiven by a holy God. Though this international woman has moved back to her native country, she is now my spiritual sister because we are both part of God’s family. How cool is that?
My point in this: everyone, no matter their culture, language, country of birth, education, or physical appearance, has to grapple with the issue of sin and how to be accepted by the creator of the universe. This is the basic question, and it all really comes down to responding in faith and obedience – like a child – to the Holy Spirit. All the other child-like questions lead up to this one, and I’m so thankful that God has given me the privilege of answering the child-like questions of our lovely international women, wherever those answers may lead.
I’m reminded of a song I learned as a child. “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world”—even when they are adults who are seeking after God like a child.
Judy is the mother of two adult sons and a grandmother to one grandson. She shares ministry with her husband of 36 years in The Gideons and in their ABF. She has taught internationals for 15 year,s directing the ESL ministry for 9 years. She loves to go “birding” locally and around the world, and is passionate about evidences for creation and archeological evidences for the Bible.
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