This past week was Vacation Bible School. As always, it was a week filled with praise and worship, learning, forming friendships, and enjoying fellowship. This year the theme was Hometown Nazareth: Where Jesus Was a Kid. With the theme in place, one can easily imagine the set consisted of present day items fixed to look like the Nazareth of old.
We attempted to stick to our theme as closely as possible so that the children would have an authentic glimpse into Nazareth. This even included hiding the cell phones and carbonated drinks that plaster our world, for shekels and edible bugs (yuck). Though the heat was nearly unbearable, many of us donned attire to suit the occasion.
A child in my group was a bit of a troublemaker at times. I took the behavior as a testing. Before the week was over, he acted in a manner which was caught by a few of the other children. He took the fake shekels that were being stored in one of the shops of Nazareth. Yes, I am talking about fake, plastic coins that we were using to allow the children to participate in an authentic marketplace atmosphere.
At that very moment, with these children pointing fingers, and this other child standing there guilty, I paused, not knowing what exactly to say. I must admit that part of me wanted to laugh, because it was a silly situation. Putting on my serious face, I told him that sneaking the plastic shekels may have gone unnoticed by me, but it did not go unnoticed by God. Then I began to ask why he would want to take something anyway.
I thought a lot about that episode. The boy changed and was great the rest of the time. He is a good kid. I thought of the episode for another reason. It got me to think about how many of us take the fake plastic shekels. I’m not talking about purposely stealing, but I am talking about taking from God.
Taking from God doesn’t only mean dipping into the collection plate or not tithing. Taking from God is not using your skills you were gifted as you were purposed. Taking from God is not using your time wisely. Taking from God is when you tell God you are His, but yet you’re not even consulting Him about anything in your life. Taking from God is spending more time talking to someone in a day then you do with Him all month. Taking from God is giving someone or something else more time, more consideration, more care, and more attention that you give God. It doesn’t matter what it is.. Whatever it may be, nothing can take priority over God.
Life is hard. Life is busy. We only have 24 hours in a day. We can look at that in two different ways though. We can say that there are only 24 hours to try to get everything done. Or perhaps we can look at things differently. We can say God has blessed me with 24 hours in this day, more than enough than I deserve. No matter what excuse that can be created as a reason for not having time for God, the excuse will never be good enough.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” – 2 Corinthians 8:9 [NASB]