As a recovering ministry addict, I know well how easy it is to feel good about yourself because you are serving. It is so very tempting to think about others, "Look at all those lazy people who won't get off their blessed assurance and serve where there is a need." So, I want to be really clear here: this is not a guilt trip to convince you to serve in your church preschool.
I want to tell you how God blessed me on a recent Sunday in my church preschool.
I give most of my time to working with four year olds. I love them! They are authentic and real; something I want to be. They are usually smiling and glad to see you; a response I hope for when I see people I know. They are fun and funny, and will laugh if you act silly.
Did I tell you that I love them?
Even so, when it is my Sunday to serve during worship, I struggle usually with not wanting to do it. (I am working on being real and authentic here.) I hate to miss worship. I hate to miss Pastor Johnny's sermon. I want to enjoy and participate in the service. So I struggle. I don't mind serving, but I want to worship, fellowship, and hear God's Word preached.
When I last served on a Sunday morning during worship, God opened my eyes to some things I had missed before.
I showed up kind of tired, again wishing I was in church. However, as the children came in I was glad to see them. I knew most of them and enjoyed talking to them and hearing their stories. I loved telling them about God and answering their questions.
Later, we went to children's church together. We sang songs about Jesus. I listened as the leader taught the children about Jesus.
The lesson was on how God provides for the birds to be fed and the lilies to be clothed, and how I am worth much more than birds or flowers. Jesus said I could trust God to provide for my needs as well.
It was in the midst of this experience that the Father let me see that I was worshiping. I was singing. I was lifting my hands (we are very free in children's church). I was praying. I was fellowshipping. I was receiving God's Word. I was sensing His Spirit speaking to me about needs in my own life. In short, I had church!
I came dragging in that Sunday morning, but left full of God's love and care for me. I know that serving too much (yes, there is such a thing) can suck the life out of you. But not serving can siphon your spiritual life away too. I think I am learning balance between the two. And when I have that balance, I can give of myself and still get full.