Monday, July 2, 2012

Gospel For Sale

Signs are appearing alongside the road and in front of church buildings.  It is the season for Vacation Bible School!
One sign in particular caught my eye, as I drove past it.  I wasn't certain that I had read it correctly, so I went back to verify what it said.
It was a typical sign advertising an upcoming VBS.  Well, not really....

You see there is a fee to sign your child up for this specific offering.
Twenty-five dollars to be exact!

I guess it was just a matter of time before a congregation would come up with the idea of charging for their services.  After all parents get a little time for themselves while their children attend VBS.

Certainly there are expenses that come with offering such a program.  Congregations budget for it and those who staff the program often dig into their own pockets to be able to make it extra-special.
Money and time are both needed to put together a successful VBS.
While the actual program might last for about three hours each day, the workers spend quite a bit more time than that preparing lessons and material.  Everything else is put on the back burner while one takes part in this outreach.  Most are a week long, while other brave souls hold a two-week VBS!

The rewards far outweigh the cost.
Quite a few years found me taking part in presenting the Good News to fresh young faces.
Many precious children met Jesus before the program ended.  Many still do.

Often the adventure began by gathering up neighborhood kids and bringing them with me and my boys.
I remember one year we pretended that my van had wings and we would swoop and soar our way to the church building.  It went with the theme of that year, which I do not recall.
VBS is fun, fun, fun, but with a purpose.

It gets children thinking about the things of God.  They hear that God loves them and would never leave them.  Many had never heard this before.  Of course, most had heard about God and even knew that Jesus was His Son, but what that was suppose to mean to them, they had no clue!

What price could we ever put on such a privilege?  Charge people who bring their children to hear such Good News?
This brings to mind the picture Matthew draws for us of Jesus in the temple turning over the money changers' tables.
Here's what He had to say to them,
"And He said to them, 'It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you are making it a robbers den'."
Jesus loves all children.  Mark shares Jesus' words,
"Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." 
So charge for the opportunity to hear of this love?  Charge and thus hinder some from coming to Him?

God forbid!
I do believe He agrees!

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