My parents made me ride with them. Like getting up for church wasn't hard enough for a young, pre-teen girl, I had to get up 2 hours earlier!
It was our church's bus ministry. We went down into the heart of Rochester; some might say the very core; the innermost part. The places that people avoided going to at all costs.
I hated it. I sat there, arms crossed in front of me, glancing out the window with a searing look that could cut through steel. I needed to let everyone know where I stood; and that I did!
how misbehaved they are being...
These children began to capture my soul like nothing I'd ever experienced before. I began to go on visitation with my parents and youth leaders every Saturday morning.
I saw where they lived; and heard the gunshots in their backyard.
I saw how little they had; bare mattresses strewn across the floor. Maybe a gallon of milk left in the fridge.
I saw how much they desperately just wanted to be loved with a true, unconditional love.
I began to love them; talk with them; listen to them; no matter what. When they would be rude and crude, I continued to love them. I stood my ground, this time with a purposeful heart of compassion.
They began to melt like a pool of mush! Their hard exteriors began to shrivel open, inviting me in with open arms. They saw the love of Christ being lived out, through me, a sinner saved by grace.
I was being changed; reshaped; made new because of "them", but more importantly, because of HIS WORK, in me.
So won't you teach your little ones, to have a compassionate heart? Teach them to love the "unlovely", the hurting, the lonely; for this is TRUE RELIGION!
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
But we don't have a rundown old school bus to send them on, you say?
Get them involved in service; something bigger than themselves. Teach them that life isn't all about them. Have them experience what Christ came to do.
Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many."
If you do that,
If they listen and obey the Spirit's leading,
They will be changed!