In the introduction of her new book, “Ping Pong Words: And 30 More Children’s Sermons” Marti Suddarth says, “Preschoolers and early elementary-aged children often listen with more than just their ears. They stand while doing art projects, dance while listening to music, and wiggle and laugh while anticipating favorite parts of stories. In short, young children listen with their ears, their eyes, their voices and their whole bodies.” When I commented on this except to Marti, she told me how children in her first grade class will stand beside their desk as they contemplate a problem, concentrating so hard, they are unaware they have stood up.
This made me think of multiple verses in the Bible that talk about David’s reaction to God. He says, “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart (Psalm 9:1), “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name (Psalm103:1), “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands (Psalm 119:10), and “Give me understanding and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart (Psalm 119:34). [italics mine]
The New Testament builds on this concept of whole being surrender to God. Jesus told his followers to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). Paul tells his readers, “Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (I Corinthians 15:58).
As I watch the children I teach, I realize that God wants me to put my whole being into my worship of Him. How do I do this? Five year old Peyton reminded me how last Sunday. Four year old Tori told me solemnly that God is always with us. “But he’s invisible; we can’t see him,” she said. “One day, we’ll go to Heaven; then we’ll see Jesus and be with Him forever,” I told her. Hearing that, Peyton jumped out of her chair with a grin that lit up her face and clapped enthusiastically.
My worship should be exuberant. My service and obedience should be with whole hearted passion. When I am reminded of my spiritual blessings, I should burst out of my chair like Peyton. When I obey the Lord, it should be with such concentration that I’m not even aware of how I’m throwing my whole being into my obedience.
“Become like little children,” Jesus told us. This week I want to do some whole-being worship, some full blown service. How about you?