Twenty years ago, during our VBS, the teachers in the two and three year old class decided to make little wooden hearts with magnets on the back as a take-home for the little ones. They painted them various colors and wrote on the front of them with magic markers, “God Loves Susie,” or whatever the child’s name was. Of course the kids loved them because their names were on them. It made them feel special. Our oldest granddaughter came flying upstairs and ran over to me and said, “Look, grandma, a heart!” She was so happy with that little wooden heart. One day she brought it to my house and asked me if she could put it on the refrigerator, so of course I told her she could. Every time she came to visit she would go to the kitchen to make sure that her heart was still where she had placed it on the fridge. Once she knew it was there, she’d be off playing.
Several years, and four grandkids later, one of the older ones asked why that heart was on the refrigerator. I explained to them that their cousin had made it in VBS several years ago and wanted me to keep it there. Then he said, “Well, where’s my heart?” I hadn’t really thought much about it, but said, “Your class didn’t make one that year.” He said, “But God loves me too.” Well, that was a real eye-opener. “You are so right,” I said, “and I will see to it that we get hearts for the rest of you grandchildren, because God loves everyone of you.”
It never ceases to amaze me what the children will say and think. They are so very innocent and precious and take the Word into their hearts at face value, never questioning or doubting for even a second. How precious their little hearts are! I went to Hobby Lobby that day, and bought four more hearts. I brought them home and painted them and attached magnets to the backs and wrote the same thing on them using their names. The next time they came to visit, they saw them immediately and were ecstatic! Now all five hearts were on the fridge with each of their names on them. As time went on, I was blessed to be able to add more hearts until we had eleven. The funny thing is, no matter how old those kids get (and some are in their twenties), every time I look at the fridge, one of them has arranged them differently. They are almost always in a circle with one heart in the middle. Usually the one who was here last has put theirs in the middle.
It is interesting to me, that no matter how old we get, we all want to be special – special to our parents, to our grandparents and most importantly special to God. I have tried to teach those precious souls that our Father in heaven has said, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine,” Exodus 19:5. A treasure is something that is searched for and carefully guarded. It is an occasion of rejoicing and something that great sacrifices are made to obtain. That is exactly what our God has done for us, as we are His special treasures, His people! He loved us so much He sacrificed His Only Begotten Son for us. We need to impress this upon our children.
We also need to realize that our children want to be loved by God and by us and want to be special, just as we do. This is important to them.
Sisters, let’s be sure we are teaching the children, whether they be ours, or our children in our Bible classes; all children. Let’s make sure we are letting them know just how precious their little souls are. When they realize this, they will be much more likely to nurture those souls as they grow and understand the importance of serving their God. Their little hearts are perfect – let’s do our best to keep them that way. “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life,”Proverbs 4:23.
Nancy is the wife of Bill Goring, gospel preacher for the Chipman Road church of Christ. She has 4 children, 11 grandchildren and has taught Bible class for over 40 years, published several books including: Behavior Becoming Holiness: Studies in Titus Chapter 2 and Overcoming our Self-Imposed Prisons.