Johnny walks into your Sunday school class 25 minutes late. He’s a challenging kid, but you pride yourself on keeping an ordered classroom. You’ve planned your lesson very carefully. You’ve even prayed for you class this week.
You smile at Johnny, but inside your saying, “Why didn’t they just wait until church.” It’s too late to backtrack the lesson, so you just keep teaching.
Johnny is fidgeting. He is rustling through his Bible and making little noises with his mouth. He gets up to find a pencil. He gets up again to sharpen it. The whole class is losing focus.
Hand up. It’s Johnny. “Did we have snack yet?” You kindly redirect. Then he puts his head down and whimpers a little. Inside you wish he had stayed home today.
After church you corner his mom. “Mrs. Smith, I need to talk with you about Johnny’s behavior in Sunday school. He was very disruptive this morning.”
She begins to apologize. “We had a bad morning. His grandpa passed away last Thursday. Johnny has been having nightmares. I should have kept him at home. I thought it might help to keep our routine. I’m really sorry he was trouble.”
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV)
Effective teaching begins with love. Ministry is not about the lesson. It’s not about the classroom schedule. It’s about loving kids and pointing them to Jesus.
How many times have you missed your chance to love?