Here’s the first children’s story that I did while my pastor was away. I told them this on July 24th.
This ends the Q&A, and at this point I simply start talking.
This particular story began with a few quick questions, which went something like this:
Me: Do any of you know my name?
Children: [aren’t quite sure; eventually end up getting my first name, but not my last]
Me: Do any of you know who I’m married to?
Children: [various answers; eventually get the wrong answer]
Me: [after each of these questions, I pause to let the kids answer, but they don’t know the answers to any of these] Do any of you know where I work? My favourite colour? My favourite movie? My favourite TV show? My favourite type of music?
Stupidly enough, I forget how I actually ended this one. I’m sure I said more, to really drive the point home.
It’s not really that surprising that you guys couldn’t answer all of these questions about me, because we don’t know each other very well. If you were to ask me the same questions about yourselves, I bet I wouldn’t be able to answer either.
But there are a few things you do know about me, because we go to the same church: You know that I lead the services sometimes; you know that I play guitar in the church sometimes, and that I play for the choir; if you’ve heard the announcements in the mornings, you know that I help lead the Youth Group; you might even know that I’m a deacon.
So, based on everything that you know about me, would you say that I’m a good person?
[the kids respond with a resounding yes]
Sure. If I knew someone, and the only things I knew about him were what he did for the church, I’d think he was a good person too. And there are other people in this church who don’t know me any better than you; all they know about me are the same things you guys know about me. And I bet they think I’m a good person, too. In fact, sometimes Christians use the term “super Christian”, to describe someone who’s a really, really good Christian - I bet some people in our church think that I’m a “super Christian”.
There are some other people in the church, who know me a bit better. We’ve had conversations, and they’ve gotten to know me as a person, instead of just “a guy at church”. I bet they think I’m a good person too - but they know that I’m not a “super Christian”. Sure, they probably think I’m a good person, but they know enough about me to know that I’m not perfect.
The kids in the Youth Group know me even better. They see me every Friday night, during the year, and some of them see me two or even three times a week. They’ve gotten to know me really well. They’ve also seen me get impatient, and sometimes even lose my temper. I don’t know if they think I’m a good person or not; they probably think that I’m usually a good person, but not always.
But the person who probably knows me best is my wife. We live in the same house, and she sees me every single day. If anyone has seen me at my worst, it’s my wife. I don’t think she’d think I’m a good person at all, because she knows me too well; I think she just thinks I’m a “sinner saved by Grace”.
And of course, I know myself better than anyone. I know myself even better than my wife does, because I know even my sinful thoughts, that I don’t share with anyone.
So it turns out that the more you get to know me, the more you realize that I’m not such a great person after all. But here’s the weird thing:
Remember those people in the church that think I’m a “super Christian”? We probably don’t consider each other “friends”. I’d say we’re more like acquaintances; we just don’t know each other that well. Those people who know me a bit better would consider me their friend, but probably not a close friend. We know each other, but we don’t know the details of each others’ lives. Now the kids in the Youth Group, on the other hand, I consider them to be close friends. We know each other really well. They feel that they can come to me for advice on things, and I even talk to them about my problems sometimes. My wife, even though she knows how sinful I am, loves me more than anyone else in this church. And I know myself better than anyone else, but I love myself more than anyone else could.
Weird, eh? The more people get to know me, the more they get to know how sinful I am - and yet the closer our friendship becomes, and the more they love me.
Here’s the point: God knows me better than anyone else, better than I even know myself. He knows my thoughts better than I do, and He never lets me off the hook, the way I sometimes let myself off the hook. But even though He knows how sinful I am, God loves me better than anyone else. God loves me even more than I love myself, if you can believe that! And God loves you too, and has promised to never stop loving you.
Even though you might sometimes do bad things, like I sometimes do bad things, God has promised to forgive you for that, and keep loving you, if you’re His child. You should never feel that you’re not as good as other people in the church, because they’re just as bad as you. But luckily, God knows how sinful we are, and He has promised to always be there for us, and to always forgive us.
I guess I should have written it down right after, instead of waiting three weeks, eh?