You can learn a lot teaching three and four year olds Sunday School.
We were finishing up snack Sunday morning. The four girls sitting together at the “girls” table, and our lone ranger man sitting by himself because he wanted to be at the “boys” table. Everyone happily munching on goldfish. Stereotypical Sunday school, right?
Then, the young man, a visitor, gets up and throws away his napkin and returns to his seat. He notices one of the young ladies has finished her snack. He walks politely to her and asks, “Do you want me to throw your trash away for you?”
She looks at him, appalled, and says, “No!” Dancing over to the trash can, she tells me, “I am a big girl, and I can do it all by myself!”
Not subdued by her rejection, he asks the next girl at the table, “Do you want me to throw your trash away for you?”
She grins and giggles giving a nod of her head, darting eyes at me and relishing the sweet attention.
He repeats his proposal to the third young lady who also accepts with a shy smile.
Finally, he is down to the last little girl, who has not yet finished her snack. He proceeds forth however and asks, “Do you want me to throw your trash away for you when you finish?”
She gives him a shocked look (as if she totally missed the scene that just played out in front of her!), pulled her goldfish closer to her, and shouted “no!”.
With that, he turns and heads for the toys. Two out of four isn’t bad. I suppose.
Three Response to Service
As I was watching this scene play out in front of me, I was struck by this young man’s acts of service. He served these little ladies completely un-provoked by me. He made his mother proud (I was sure to tell her when she picked him up!). But he wasn’t what lingered with me after. I was convicted by the responses of the girls. I think we can learn from them.
- Miss I Can Do It By Myself!
Sometimes, I reject the service of others with the same attitude as the first girl–I am a big girl and I don’t need help. Let them go help someone else. Or even if I need help, I don’t want others to know, so I go on pretending that I can do it alone. This is prideful. Scripture warns, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18, ESV)
- Miss Don’t Take My Goldfish
The fourth little girl was not done with her goldfish. She may have been open to him serving her, but she feared he was going to take her fish before she was finished. Maybe fear stops us from accepting the service of others. Fear of losing recognition for performing on our own. Fear of acknowledging that we need help.
- Miss Smiles and Giggles
The middle girls accepted the service. They giggled and enjoyed the attention. They were a bit teased, not knowing what to think about this little boy throwing away their napkins. How often do we accept the service of others like this? With a smile and appreciation. No apologies for needing help. No promises of returning the favor. Just accepting the love God is showing you through the serving hands of others.
Scripture teaches that we are each given different gifts (1 Corinthians 12). These gifts are to be used for building up each other in the church (Ephesians 4:11-12). We are all able to serve in difference capacities. By allowing others to serve us in their gifted areas, we are allowing the Body of Christ to work as it should. Let’s not rob someone of the blessing of service by insisting that we do everything ourself.
Which little girl do you relate to? How can you accept the service of another this week?
Photo Credit: Slightly Everything