At our staff’s devotional meeting on Wednesday morning, the 3rd grade teacher was in charge. I haven’t gotten to spend much time with her as we’re on two different floors and our classes don’t do anything together, but I knew she was in seminary so I half-expected her devotion to be a very academic, in-depth analysis comparing the different translations of Leviticus to their original Hebrew. What we got instead was a simple, thoughtful conversation about how we take for granted the fact that we work at a Christian school and miss our chance to tell kids about Jesus. That we need to take advantage of the opportunities that we have because we don’t know what’s waiting at home. And that something so important can be done in a short amount of time.
One of the ways Pastor Mike’s preached the gospel before is so simple, but so true. You are so bad that Jesus had to die. You are so loved that he was glad to do it so you could be with him forever. And I’ve been thinking about that a lot, thinking about how to make that connect with my kids and thinking about how it connects with me. The truth is, I completely understand the “you’re so bad” part. We know that no matter how good we are, there’s someone better. We see our shortcomings and are very aware of the bad things we do. We accept Jesus because of fear and completely miss the fact that he does it all because he loves us. It’s the thing we’re all craving, the solution to so many problems, the most important part, and we miss it entirely.
This is an awful thing.
I’ve loved Jesus for the past 8 or so years of my life but until very recently, I didn’t understand that he loves me back. I mean, I understood John 3:16 and knew that I was included in the “world” part of that verse but for years I walked around lopsided, living the part of the gospel that says that I’m bad and missing the part that says that I’m loved. And I tried like everyone else to fill that void with relationships and things and knowledge but the only thing that was ever going to satisfy that need was the one thing that had been there the entire time. There is absolutely nothing better than understanding that God so loved you.
When my kids and I talk about the gospel at school, they’re going to know both parts. They’ll understand that they’re bad and sin, and they’ll know that Jesus loves them. Because I can’t imagine loving them as much as I do and not telling them.