“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18: 1-4.I have been honored to teach the two and three year old Bible class on Sunday morning for the last several years and it is my joy. On the rare occasion that I have to be gone, I assure my substitute that although they will fall in love with “my girls,” (or boys) they must give them back when I return! They usually look at me strangely as if to say: no problem! That is until they meet these sweet little souls.
On one particular morning we had class promotion and were expecting to welcome a new little girl in our class. Her grandmother was a little nervous and for weeks had been warning me that she would be difficult. I assured her that she would be fine and just to leave her with us and it would all work out. She still seemed nervous and looked at me either with doubt or that I was obviously out of my mind. So, on the morning our new sweet addition was on her way to class the little girl hesitated and started to cry. She wasn’t sure this was right. It looked a little scary. I looked a little scary. The room was unfamiliar. I assured the grandmother (and myself ) one more time that all would be fine and braced myself for lots of crying.
When her grandmother left, Makayla and I looked at the classroom decorations and discussed the wonderful animals, stars, fish, trees, etc. that God made. Then we watched for her classmates. I assure Makayla that Kynleigh and Tatiana would be here soon and she would love them (I was a little nervously I admit as my mind began to strategize how I would handle this). Finally, Kynleigh came bounding down the hallway with her usual wonderful smile from ear to ear. She quickly hugged Makayla and told her she loved her. Makayla wasn’t so sure about this. Kynleigh never seemed to notice and assured her that Bible class was fun and “we cannot cry, but must listen to Mrs. Tracy.”We sat down and began our lesson. Makayla was fine for a few minutes, through the first song or two..but when we started our prayer Makayla began to whimper “I want mommy.’ I thought: Uh oh…then right on cue Kynleigh reached over and hugged her and told her “it is ok, we’re in Bible class!” Makayla pushed her away; she wasn’t having any of that. Kynleigh just looked at her as if she didn’t understand and said, ‘it’s ok. I just want to give you a hug. I think you need a hug.” Finally, after much coaxing Makayla allowed her to hug her, but was still upset. Kynleigh tried again: “Don’t worry. I love you and Jesus loves you too!” This scenario continued: Makayla resisting, and Kynleigh assuring her that she was loved. Makayla pushing her away and Kynleigh insisting she loved her. Finally, our third arrived. Tatiana immediately became Kynleigh’s helper and sat on the other side of Makayla. She was surrounded. These two girls were going to love her and make her smile no matter how resistant she was to it. When she cried, they hugged. When she pushed them away they smiled and kissed her- or tried to. When she said NO! they laughed. When we sang our Genesis 1 song they showed her where heaven and the earth is. They showed her where to find Genesis 1 and 2 in her Bible. When we sang the song about how much we love and need the Bible, they made sure she had one and hugged it tight. When put the pictures of Abraham and Sarah on the flannel board, they explained to her that God chose Abraham because he obeyed. They explained to her that it was exciting because God promised Abraham that Jesus was coming! They told her “God promised.” And at each turn there was another hug or kiss, or compliment to Makayla about how pretty she is.
I watched these two little girls show unconditional love and concern for another little scared and lonely girl. I couldn’t help but think about my own actions and some of my adult brothers and sisters in Christ. I thought about how often when someone is unkind to us we just push back and turn away. I thought about how we often allow our own hurt to get in the way of helping someone who needs us. I thought about how I had allowed rejection to stop me from showing my love for another. I thought about how much I was like an adult.
Finally class was over much too soon, as always, and their mommy’s and grandmother came to pick them up. By that time Makayla had decided the hugs were kinda nice, the kisses were ok and that the Bible was something to love. She was happy.
That Sunday I was teaching three little girls to love God and about how He cares for us in our time of need and sent Jesus to die for us because He love us. But, I am the one that learned the most valuable lesson that morning by two beautiful three year old girls. I learned that I, or we, could help ourselves out by stop acting like a grown up and act a little more like three year olds.