I tried to count up the total number of Vacation Bible Schools of which I have ever been a part. It is somewhere between 30 and 40 as an adult volunteer. This does not include all the ones of my childhood and teenage years. These would easily push the truer number closer to 50.
This much I do know. As a Pastor, I learned that the week of VBS each summer at church would be one of the most demanding of the entire year. During this week, Pastors tend to be Jacks of all trade and masters of none. By this I mean that we often have no specific responsibility; and yet we are called upon to do a great many things.
Even as a young Pastor in my mid 30s, I remember how tired I often was as the end of each day of VBS. This was not just from being on my feet in sandals or flip flops all day; but from the additional stress that typically accompanies the week’s activities.
All that being said, I still looked forward to VBS each and every year. Why? Because I knew the impact VBS had on me as a young child. I remember the fun activities, the crafts, the good food, and the games we played. I also remember how much of the Bible I learned in such times.
Nor will I ever forget meeting genuine missionaries who were home on furlough for the very first time while at VBS. The stories they told, the artifacts they displayed, the costumes they wore… all these things set my imagination on fire.
If VBS had this kind of impact on me, then hopefully it can and will still do the same for little boys and girls today. Little wonder that my wife and I made certain that our three children all experienced VBS week each summer growing up. And nowadays, we hope the same for our grandsons. For this reason, the four that are old enough were taken to VBS with us each evening this week.
Tonight, they enjoyed their share of hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, inflatable bounce houses, and water slides, and yes, hitting Granddaddy with water balloons. But that is not what brought joy to my heart. What did thrill me was watching them sing the lyrics to the songs we learned, as well as correctly yell out the answers to the Bible trivia questions that were posed to them.
The theme this week was “Give us, Lord, our daily bread.” from Matthew 6:11. By the end of the week, among other lessons, my grandsons had learned how God once fed the Israelites manna in the wilderness, how He fed Elijah and the widow at Zarephath, and how He fed the 5000 with 12 basketfuls left over, and how He fed His disciples on the shore of the sea of Galilee.
Let’s just say that my own soul was fed as I watched their little souls nurtured in the faith of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Kudos to all those volunteers who showed up to make this possible for them and scores of other children this past week. Jesus Himself had a lot to say about children.
For instance, he once said: “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me, and whoever welcomes Me welcomes not only Me, but the One who sent Me.”
To which He added: “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Little wonder then that He also went on to say: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
What is more, the Bible tells us that, once: “...the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Jesus invited a little child to stand among them. ‘Truly I tell you,’ He said, ‘unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”
All these things were already on my mind when I received a text from my daughter telling me that two of my grandsons “prayed for daily bread in their bedtime prayers, unprompted. So sweet.”
Her commentary spoke volumes. Knowing what hearing such prayers from them means to me, I can only imagine what they must mean to their Heavenly Father above!