“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT)
One of the definitions of authentic is “like the original.” When preschoolers and children play “Simon Says,” they try to imitate the original leader, Simon, the best they can. When they play “Follow the Leader,” they try to follow and mimic what the leader is doing. In a fun and playful manner, preschoolers are learning the importance of imitating a leader. Being in a classroom with a leader who lives a life of authentic faith in Christ, in word and action, is exactly where Mission Friends need to be.
Preschoolers cannot see Jesus in a physical form, but they can see and hear us as we love and lead them. When we use calm, kind words and gentle, loving actions, preschoolers will catch glimpses of Jesus through us. As we help others and forgive accidents and messes, they will see how Jesus reacted to those around him. When they listen to missions stories and learn of people both far and near and how people are important to Jesus, preschoolers will feel God’s love and care and begin to understand how important they are to Jesus. For some Mission Friends in our classes, we may be the only Bible they see. For others, we will be additional examples of Christ-likeness that they can learn from and imitate.
As we read Ephesians 5:1-2, notice how we are the Lord’s dear children, just as the Mission Friends in our classes are our dear preschoolers. We are to imitate God, live a life filled with love, and follow the example of Jesus. When we subscribe and commit to these verses, we will be encouraging preschoolers to imitate us and learn the ways of the Lord. As they observe us in the Mission Friends classroom, they will pick up our actions and habits. They will learn of our loving God by what we say and do. Through our authentic faith-actions with preschoolers, we will be offering up sacrifices to God. May they be pleasing and fragrant for Him!
Father God, Thank You for loving us and sending us Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for the examples He gave us of how to treat others, and the sacrifice of His life that He offered for Your glory and our eternal salvation. Please lead us to imitate Christ for the very youngest humans of Your precious creation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
by Wendy Dever