Choice Meat for Me, Paid Childcare for Thee

Countless times I’ve heard adults say, “But this is my time to be fed,” in response to pleas from the pulpit to serve in children’s or other areas of the church. And though I may not have had the freedom or chance to say it as a staffer, I too have felt that way.


When I was teaching school, the thought of doing double duty with kids on a Sunday did not sound like fun. In fact, it sounded foolish, unnecessary, even harmful given my sometimes weary and worn out state. I would have cried if I had to go into a two-year-old class for an hour when I was living with toddlers 24/7.


Y’all, I understand the seasons where God’s best for worship is for husbands and wives to be in a community together—learning, connecting, and growing. That is a real and valid thing.


I understand the seasons of feeling and being bone dry and having nothing left for anyone. I even understand the need to be fed.


By all means—feed thyself. But once fed don’t loiter in the kitchen.


In many churches it’s not feeding anymore. It’s feasting that lasts years and decades. It’s a spiritual eating disorder that binges on bread and wine, embracing the communion of community but failing to do much in remembrance of Him. Adult Sunday school classes that have seen everyone’s kids born, graduated, and married are brimming with master teachers who are “still learning” while children’s rooms are led by videos, untrained teens, paid hourly workers, or just combined when no leader shows up.


Church, if you’ve been in a Sunday school class three years or more and don’t feel equipped to do any more than continue attending Sunday school, change classes. You have been poorly served.


Christ Himself, would turn those tables over and crack a whip at our dens of righteous robbers. What were they doing at the temple when the Son got mad at His Father’s House?


They had turned sacrifices into a service industry and were buying and selling convenient, albeit expensive substitutes, for the work required to bring a true sacrifice.


And it was the buyers, and the sellers Jesus was judging. The sellers charged exorbitant prices and were profiting off what should have belonged to the Lord. But the buyers were failing to prepare, make a plan to secure, and bring their sacrificial offering. They were entirely fine just showing up and wandering in, doves and lambs changing hands for whomever could afford the convenience.


Church, we too will pay the higher price if we continue to purchase or outsource the sacrifices and offerings God wants us to personally bring.


He wants us to serve the least of these, not hire someone else who will.


He wants us to feel the cost of their care and discipleship. He wants the parents and adults in the church to be the ones rolling up sleeves, praying over how and what to teach, spending time thinking about how to reach a people group they don’t understand. He wants us to feel desperate and dependent on HIM to provide the help.


We wring our hands asking the Lord to bring more people to our churches, and He is shouting from the heavens, “I did! They are crying in the nursery and coloring irrelevant pages until a teacher shows up in their Sunday school class. I’m waiting on your church to be faithful to them, and then we’ll see about bringing others!”


Hey Friend, think back to Eli’s sons. Their abuse of the offerings brought by the people, discouraged the people from bringing their gifts and sacrifices to the Lord.


We usually see ourselves as the maligned people and not the sons. But when a child comes to church and no one is there to greet them, know their name, ask about their week, or make learning God’s Word the amazing adventure that it truly is, they are discouraged from returning or bringing their hearts and lives to the Father.


We must greet every person who enters our gates with our very best. It may still be broccoli, but it should be thoughtfully prepared and lovingly presented.


All the way back to Abraham we were commanded to “teach these things to our children,” to impress upon them the goodness of our Great God.


It is the expectation of primarily parents. But faithfulness is also an expectation of the Church. We need adults of every age and phase involved in schools and churches.


Shut down your adult classes and go serve the least among us.


Our world needs a generation who is impacted by the influence of senior adults, single adults, parents, and youth. We need a generation who know their worth, value, purpose, and identity. We need a generation equipped to value life and defend it.


We need to raise a generation to boldly share the Gospel on their campuses and in their communities.


When we fail to obey in our hearts, we fail to obey in our marriages. Then we fail to obey as parents in our homes. Then we fail to obey in our churches and communities. Then we have failing tribes and nations.


Elections are not God’s primary vehicle for righteous change or revival, the Elect are—on an extremely local and personal level.


Your primary people group is in your home. They are your Jerusalem. We cannot dare ask for the nations or increased territory if we are willing to concede our own halls and walls.


If Eli shows us anything it is that there is no such thing as failing at home while succeeding at work. If you’re failing at home, you’re failing at both.

If Eli could be so generous to show us one more thing from his bad dadding and bitter, burnt ends…It is that the Lord knows and has placed primary importance on our domestic discipleship whether we do or not.

Let this one rest a minute. Give it time. Let the Lord tenderize this cut or this will be too tough to chew.