A few weeks ago, several of my family members and friends volunteered to assist a church hosting VBS (Vacation Bible School). This particular VBS was slightly different; it was for foster kids. The foster parents are required to take 12 hours of mandatory conference/training by the state, annually. Therefore, the church would conduct VBS for the kids, while the parents attended their annual session. I volunteered to help with the youth.
I was a youth intern for a couple of years and, at one point, an interim youth pastor. Needless to say, I enjoy seeing God move through the lives of teenagers. This particular weekend was no exception.
Throughout the weekend of VBS, we would break from the get-to-know-you games, for a session in scripture. The kids were somewhat shy, which was to be expected, and we would ask questions to get them involved. Basic, conversation starters.
The first session went smoothly. The second session covered the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is where I was quickly humbled.
Jesus tells how only the Samaritan stopped on the road and helped the beaten and naked man. Then the Samaritan brought him into town, fed him, clothed him and provided for him a place to stay.
This was a pure and selfless example of treating others as you would like to be treated.
Most people, kids more than others, think in the simplest of terms. 1 + 1 = 2. Cause and effect. Therefore, I posed the question to the group: “Why would the Samaritan stop for the man? What was his drive?”
Now, I enjoy theology. I enjoy delving into God’s Word, so deep that it helps me grow in my relationship with Christ. Sometimes, however, the basics/essentials of the Gospel and our faith through Christ completely shatter my need to deeply analyze the complex intricacies of God. As I asked the question, my mind begins to churn with the understanding of sanctification, atonement of sin, Paul’s battle of “the old law” and faith and obedience.
I pondered on all these things. My mind was swiftly overtaken by a truth so gripping and tragic that everything surrounding me fell into nothingness.
One of the kids responded to the question: “To inherit the kingdom of God.”
Shattered. What a fool I am. What a self-replicating virus of self-centeredness I am. All of my boastful knowledge of scripture and spiritual understanding is a trophy to be mocked. In that moment, I was not frustrated or regretful at the cause of my spiritual understanding, nor at the deeper understanding I have been granted through and in Jesus Christ, but rather at the prideful collection of theological trophies I display in my own mind. What a mockery.
“To inherit the kingdom of God.” Struck down by the words of a teenager is a humbling, and annoying experience in itself. But when reminded of the power of the complex and yet simplistic truth of the Gospel, it becomes words of rest, realignment, and humility. Do not, for even one second, assume that the Gospel is so complex that its limits coincide with your own thought process. The Lord’s plan for you to inherit His kingdom is vast and simple at the same time. I pray you continue to hunger for him.