No suckers in Heaven

"Suckers" by Art Poskanzer, 2011 (CC BY 2.0 license) - flickr.com

Are we encouraging the children to be “suckers”? Just staying “close” to the church is not enough!

There will be no suckers in Heaven. My eight-year-old, seeing the title of my planned post, wondered if I was talking about candy–but this is deeper.

And sure, the easily deceived will not be there unless they learn to lean fully on God for wisdom and discernment–but that’s not the right sucker, either.

Several weeks ago, I was spending the morning working for my son in his weed-whacking and mowing business. I believe I was weed-whacking that day.

Around the fences, next to the brush piles, along shed walls… and under the trees.

This is where they grow: under the trees.

The deciduous trees were most often the victims. Just have a look beneath the lovely canopy of one of those flourishing beauties and you would see them. A whole mini-forest of spindly, energetic-looking striplings shoot enthusiastically toward heaven.

Beneath the surface

Yet beneath the surface, there’s a problem. These are suckers.

Rather than growing their own roots, the suckers depend on the body of the mature tree. Their growth becomes its weakness.

If the suckers are left to grow long enough, the tree may even cease to bear fruit.

We are Christ’s body, the mature tree, if you will. We have been called to encourage the “saplings”–the children.

But are we encouraging suckers?

Are we encouraging the children to do their own thing–just so long as they stay “close” to the church? Or are we encouraging them to accept Christ’s power into their own lives? Are we encouraging them to accept the admittedly painful, but blessedly fruitful, process of being grafted into the True Vine?

The larger plan

Friends, our Vacation Bible Schools should be enjoyable to the children, but there is so much more to it. Vacation Bible School ought to be one piece of a larger plan for the children’s salvation.

Through Vacation Bible School (and children’s ministry in general, including parenting!), we are doing so much more than “just” raising children. We are raising the next generation of men and women! The children must be able to stand alone!

Remember the ten virgins? At that critical moment when the Bridegroom comes, destiny has already been decided. Nobody else’s oil will do in that day. Each child–and each of us–will only be ready if we have the oil in his own vessel.

There will be no suckers in Heaven.


Comments

No suckers in Heaven — 2 Comments

  1. Hi Sheila,
    Excellent post. Although you are referring to children not being “suckers” but learning stand alone, I see the same malady in the church. Too often we see people reliant on some pastor or minister for their source of salvation rather than Christ himself. And if the pastor moves away, or worse has a great fall, these people too fall away.
    Your sucker analogy is an excellent parable of the need to stand alone & be supported by Jesus Christ, whether in the way we raise our children or the children of the Lord.
    Great post!
    God bless,
    John

    • I definitely agree, John!

      Actually, my pastor has asked me to consider preparing a sermon for our church and this is the basic skeleton I have been thinking of using. The principle truly does apply to all of us.

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment–I hope you will stop by again soon!

      Blessings,
      Sheila 🙂

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