“You’re wasting your time.” The woman’s words caught me so much by surprise, I didn’t have time to respond before she plunged ahead. “You don’t need to be teaching children’s church. Those kids are old enough to sit upstairs in church. What grade are they anyway? How many did you have last week?”
“Um, two fourth graders.” I meekly said.
“Two?” she sputtered. “You ARE wasting your time.”
I tried to gently disagree with her. “Two children are important. No matter whether there are two or twenty, we need to teach them about Jesus.”
“Let them sit with their parents. You should be back in the choir where you can be using the talent God gave you.”
I sadly shook my head when I hung up. My well meaning encourager didn’t know the children. The girl could have sat with her parents, but the boy? He comes with his 83-year--old grandma, is in perpetual motion and has a self esteem as low as the belly of an earthworm. The two girls who came the week before? They came with one girl’s mother’s live-in boyfriend. They would have had no one to guide them through an adult worship service. The boyfriend needed to concentrate on the worship service for himself without the distraction of two girls. And they were learning far more in my class than they would get out of an adult worship services.
Before I allowed her comments to bother me unnecessarily, I had to realize where they were coming from. She meant well, but she was ignorant. She was also a pawn in the hands of the devil who DOES know that I can be easily discouraged, and who will use anything, even misdirected comments, to halt the work of proclaiming the gospel. It took a few days of praying and mulling before I realized that she was wrong. Just two children are important and are worth teaching.
Jesus liked small numbers too. He spent most of his time with just twelve men. His closest circle included just three. Several times, he had classes of one: the Samaritan woman, the rich young ruler, and the late night session with Nicodemus.
What were we teaching those two children on those two Sundays? We were giving them tools to be able to read the Bible on their own. How to read a Bible reference. How to find a Bible verse in the Bible. The difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. On both Sundays, we did a service projects by making little crafts that we distributed to the adults after church, reminding them to read their Bible every day. And I leave it to your imagination the personal conversations I had with them as we worked, conversations that built relationships and allowed me to show interest in them, conversations I couldn’t have had if I had had twenty children instead of two.
Two is enough. One is enough. 1 Peter 4:10 starts with, “Each one should use whatever gift he has to serve others faithfully. . .” Faithfully means I’m going to stick with it. My job is to teach, no matter how many or how few students I have. I’m going to do the best teaching job I can with whatever – and whoever God gives me.