Fear. When is the last time you found yourself afraid of something? How about the kids in your children’s ministry? Fear is a natural emotion felt by all ages. Fear often causes people to make some really bad choices. Taking lying for example. Typically, a person lies when they are afraid of the consequences from the truth. Theft? When someone is afraid of losing their house, not being able to keep the electricity on or food on the table, they have a choice to make. Sometimes, stealing is the answer chosen. For students, how about cheating? When afraid of failing, the temptation to turn to cheating is very real.
Jesus gives us an excellent example of fear that hurts. He told a story about three men given an opportunity by their master. How did they do? As you read, pay attention to the third servant. Matthew 25:14-30 says:
14 “At that time God’s kingdom will also be like a man leaving home to travel to another place for a visit. Before he left, he talked with his servants. He told his servants to take care of his things while he was gone. 15 He decided how much each servant would be able to care for. The man gave one servant five bags of money.[a] He gave another servant two bags. And he gave a third servant one bag. Then he left.16 The servant who got five bags went quickly to invest the money. Those five bags of money earned five more. 17 It was the same with the servant who had two bags. That servant invested the money and earned two more. 18 But the servant who got one bag of money went away and dug a hole in the ground. Then he hid his master’s money in the hole.
19 “After a long time the master came home. He asked the servants what they did with his money. 20 The servant who got five bags brought that amount and five more bags of money to the master. The servant said, ‘Master, you trusted me to care for five bags of money. So I used them to earn five more.’
21 “The master answered, ‘You did right. You are a good servant who can be trusted. You did well with that small amount of money. So I will let you care for much greater things. Come and share my happiness with me.’
22 “Then the servant who got two bags of money came to the master. The servant said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of money to care for. So I used your two bags to earn two more.’
23 “The master answered, ‘You did right. You are a good servant who can be trusted. You did well with a small amount of money. So I will let you care for much greater things. Come and share my happiness with me.’
24 “Then the servant who got one bag of money came to the master. The servant said, ‘Master, I knew you were a very hard man. You harvest what you did not plant. You gather crops where you did not put any seed. 25 So I was afraid. I went and hid your money in the ground. Here is the one bag of money you gave me.’
26 “The master answered, ‘You are a bad and lazy servant! You say you knew that I harvest what I did not plant and that I gather crops where I did not put any seed. 27 So you should have put my money in the bank. Then, when I came home, I would get my money back. And I would also get the interest that my money earned.’
28 “So the master told his other servants, ‘Take the one bag of money from that servant and give it to the servant who has ten bags.29 Everyone who uses what they have will get more. They will have much more than they need. But people who do not use what they have will have everything taken away from them.’ 30 Then the master said, ‘Throw that useless servant outside into the darkness, where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.’
The third servant given the one bag of money was afraid of what his master would do to him if he lost it. He was so fearful that instead of trying to do something positive with it, he simply hid it and waited. If you are in children’s ministry, God has entrusted you with his little children. What are you doing to reach these kids? Are you playing it so safe that you cannot get their attention or are you trying new things, trusting God to help you?
Children are important to our Heavenly Father. Continue to pray for his hand in guiding them, and their parents. Our society is changing and it often takes creativity to get through to kids these days. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If they aren’t working, change them again. Find something that works and don’t worry, God is with you if you are including him.