Guest post: I thought with the break ya’ll could use a guest post until things get back to normal. I hope you like this bible study below.
Making a Difference in the Life of a Child
As a mother, there’s really no way around the fact that you will make a difference in the lives of your own children. How positive that difference is will depend on your actions. In addition to having an impact on your own kids, the fact that you’re a mom will open up numerous opportunities to influence the lives of other children.
If by chance, you’re not a mom, you can still make a meaningful and lasting impression on little ones.
This study is specifically geared to ministering to children that are not your own, although the principles carry over to the positive change you can make in your own children.
Matthew 18 gives a good description of Jesus’ attitude towards children.
1At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 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.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Matthew 19 and Luke 18 contain similar sentiments.
I read as many Bible verses about children as I could find, and you know what the overall attitude toward children was? Positive. Jesus made it very clear that He had time for children and He gave a strong warning about offending a child – you’re better off drowning than offending a child.
Kids are important and what children experience affect their entire lives! Here are some tips for making a change for good in the life of a child:
Look for Opportunities to Make a Difference in a Child
You can miss a lot of chances if you’re not looking. Once you start looking for opportunities, you’ll start finding them.
Where can you find these opportunities?
One place is at church. If a child participates in worship whether from the stage or the congregation, thank them for their service to Jesus.
Another opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life can occur when your kids have friends over. Show interest in them. Ask them what they’re looking forward to, and then, when it happens, remember to ask them how it went. The fact that you care about them will give you an open door to encourage that child spiritually through their life.
Give godly guidance as you interact with children. II Timothy 3 talks about the things that Timothy learned as a child and how those things are important to his life as an adult. When you’ve fostered a friendship with a little person, they’ll care about what you have to say.
When I was a kid, after church my friends and I would sometimes sneak off to the lesser frequented areas of our huge church building after the service and get into mischief. When someone who never showed interest in us reprimanded our actions, we’d all bristle with indignation. If someone who loved us came to us as someone on our side keeping us out of trouble, we appreciated that concern and follow their instruction.
When you’ve shown interest and care, kids will be more apt to come to you for advice and listen.
Live Right in front of Children
I have four children who have friends, I teach Sunday School, I teach piano lessons, and I counsel at camp. Some of the kids I interact with see me every week, some see me just once a year, but they all love to know what I’ve been doing. The teens I work with at camp almost always follow me on Facebook and Instagram. I know that if I advertise myself living in sin (having a bad attitude, speaking unkindly, living an inconsistent life from what I’ve taught them, etc.) they’d be disappointed and some of them would be hurt.
At the same time, if through all their years growing up they see that I’ve stayed faithful to the Lord, they’ll be encouraged.
My very first Sunday School teacher was one such example of faithfulness to me. As a little two-year-old, I considered her my “Pastor Peggy.” She taught us Bible verses and she gave us gummy bears. She was the epitome of spiritual leadership.
Her influence on my life didn’t end when I left her class, though. I competed in gymnastics for four years before I ever stood on the podium. Miss Peggy celebrated with me and had flowers delivered to me the next day. In high school, she wrote me encouraging notes that were always filled with scripture. She mentored me and offered to let me observe her Sunday School class to learn how to practically work with the little ones.
To this day, she will send me random gifts and letters of encouragement. And through all this time, I have watched her life, and I have seen how she lived what she talked.
Her life of doing right and being faithful to the Lord has made a difference in my life and shown me an example of how I want to live.
It’s easy to love good, compliant kids, but what about those ones that are harder to love?
I John 4:11 says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” Guess what? That means we’re supposed to love kids that we’re not drawn to love naturally.
Don’t write off any child. It’s easy to say that, but hard to do it!
I have dealt with kids that are hard to work with. I have seen certain kids walk into my Sunday School class and thought, “Oh boy…There goes my easy class.” I’m not proud of that. That is not the attitude Jesus had for children.
Unfortunately, if I’m thinking that, their school teachers and other caregivers are likely thinking that as well. Those kids that are unlovable are often the ones who need your love the most.
Be different. Commit to showing kindness.
Here are some practical ways to change your attitude toward the unlovable:
- Think of them as individuals and not as a group. “Birds of a feather flock together,” happens in real life. Instead of looking at the group of trouble-makers, see the individual boy or girl as a person.
- Don’t write off the trouble maker. God can do anything. Don’t give up on a kid that’s hard to love.
- Pray for them. This action will likely make the biggest difference in your attitude. When you invest your time in prayer for someone, God can soften your heart towards that person.
If you’ve been praying for a child, tell them. That’s one way to show you care about them. When you’re in a position of leadership and you have to correct a child, they’ll likely handle it better when they know you’ve been praying for them.
It’s a good idea to spend time praying for the kids that are easy to love, as well.
Pray for opportunities to encourage and edify all the kids you have a chance to work with whether in your home, your church, at your kids’ activities, and anywhere else you interact with children.
Psalm 127:3 says that children are a heritage of the Lord. Remember, all children are a blessing. Look for opportunities to encourage and build relationships, make sure you’re living life as an example worth following, and show God’s love to all children. By doing these things, you will make a difference.
Melanie Musson is a writer for Carinsurancecomparison.com and Autoinsurance.org. She and her husband are raising their four daughters in the spectacular mountains of Montana. She keeps busy directing her church’s ladies’ and children’s ministries, homeschooling, and going on outdoor adventures.