Three sons left home, went out on their own and prospered. Getting back together, they discussed the gifts that they were able to give to their elderly mother.
The first said, “I built a big house for our mother.” The second said, “I sent her a Mercedes with a driver.” The third smiled and said, “I’ve got you both beat. You know how mom enjoys the Bible and you know she can’t see very well. I sent her a brown parrot that can recite the entire Bible. It took 20 monks in the monastery 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000 a year for 10 years, but it was worth it. Mom just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot will recite it.”
Soon thereafter, mom sent out her letters of thanks. She wrote the first son, “Milton, the house you built is so huge I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house.” She wrote the second son, “Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay home all the time, so I never use the Mercedes. And the driver is so rude!” She wrote the third son, “Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to know what your mother likes. The chicken was delicious.”*
Read 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 from your Bible.
In the above story poor Melvin made a pretty large mistake by not asking what his mom liked or wanted. He didn’t understand his mother’s needs. What are some need of the students in your class? How can you meet those needs? (For example, if the need is special attention from you, when can you go and watch a ball game; if the need is encouragement, why not send him a short note telling him how special he is to you, etc.) God knows each of our needs? What are some ways He has met your needs in the past? What are some ways He can use you to meet others people’s needs this week?
Prayerfully consider what you have read today. Then take a few moments to pray for yourself, your students, and others with whom you serve in ministry.
If we don’t know what people need, how can we minister to them in an effective way?
With lack of understanding come low expectations. If you and the student’s parents don’t expect them to want to memorize the verse for the day, they probably won’t. If you don’t expect them to grow spiritually, they probably won’t. If you don’t expect them to read their Bible during the week, the probably won’t. If these are the feelings expressed to students by leaders, adults, and parents, then the students will sink to meet those low expectations. In our churches today the greatest factor that holds children back from spiritual development is the low expectations of parents and adults.
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*A Children’s Leader Devotion, (Lake Forest, CA: Saddleback Church), Week 16.
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