Paul's Third Journey
Have you heard about those pay-it-forward campaigns at local drive-thrus where one person pays for the next person’s order, then the second person pays for the third person’s order, and so on? Maybe you have even been part of one. I have never had that joy, but every time I hear about one, I think to myself “The person who started this probably has no idea how many people his act of kindness reached.”
I often have that same thought about ministry leaders. When we spiritually invest in other people, God has the ability to multiply that investment exponentially. A sobering truth many of us have come to grips with is that God is always at work around us, often in ways we don’t see. In some cases we never fully realize how God has used us. As ministry leaders, you spend countless hours praying for, planning for, and studying for the different aspects of your ministry. At times you probably wonder if anything you say is getting through. As you have conversations with kindergarteners about starting elementary school or with fourth graders about a difficult homework assignment, you may wonder if you are making any connection. Week after week you tell the kids you serve about God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrifice. All the while God is using you.
In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul describes how God uses various people to plant and water the seeds of the gospel. When the preteen boys are cutting up and talking sports on the back row, take heart; God can still work. When the first grade girls are giggling over their new shoes, take heart; God can still work. Like Paul, be faithful to share the gospel at every opportunity.
In our session this week, we see that Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla had connection through their common occupation of tentmaking. Paul used that commonality to build relationships and invest in their lives. We, too, can use all sorts of things around us to build relationships with the kids in our ministry. Later on, Aquila and Priscilla invested in Apollos who was also teaching others about Jesus. With the same perseverance and consistency that Paul had, point kids to Jesus at every opportunity.
As you prepare this week, be encouraged that God is working in you and through you in the lives of the kids you serve. In some cases you may not see the harvest, but we can trust God to work, even when we can’t see the results. Remind kids this week that, just as Paul used every opportunity to tell people the good news about Jesus, so should we, and we can trust God to do His work.
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Jeremy Carroll (@jermpc) is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. Before coming to LifeWay, he has been active in local church ministry for nearly 20 years in TN, TX, and AL. Jeremy earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A Middle Tennessee native, he and his family live in Murfreesboro, TN.