Learning from the Children

וְהָיָה, כִּי-יֹאמְרוּ אֲלֵיכֶם בְּנֵיכֶם: מָה הָעֲבֹדָה הַזֹּאת, לָכֶם

“And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?” (Ex. 12:26).

As the time of the exodus from Egypt drew near, Moses tells Israel that their children will ask on the night of Passover: “What does this mean?” What is he saying? Be ready to answer them.

If you know me as a minister, I love having children around, especially with the adults in worship: “the service.” Children bring an honesty we should all learn from: with their laughter, tears, energy or just napping on the chairs, include them. Let them be part of the service.

How can they ask unless they observe us? And how can we answer without a question? The Lord is creating a generational connection, a contact point to learn and remember. So often the formality or sanctity of an observance closes the doors of inquiry, yet this simple statement of Moses puts a stopper in the door that keeps it from closing. The opening welcomes in those who do not know, but would like to ask.

I’ve heard much too often that questions regarding faith have been discouraged by those in a position to answer. We learn when we ask, and when we are asked. Moses is telling us, as parents, friends, or leaders to be ready. Think, reflect, consider closely. As the apostle Peter wrote:

“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (I Pet. 3:15).

The word ἀπολογία/apologia, “defense”, used by Peter also means answer. Be prepared, as Moses and Peter tell us, to provide an answer when someone asks a question regarding the hope we have: at the Passover, “What’s this business with the lamb?” Now, “Who is Messiah as the Lamb of God, the source of your hope?”

We learn from Him, and we are able to answer those drawing near to ask. We ask our own questions, and learn in order to share. We learn so we will know, and in knowing we can can answer.

The heart of this knowing is your testimony, your story in relation to the Lamb, and what His service has done for you. Children can inspire us in faith if we open our hearts, our minds, our very souls to their question: What does this service mean to you? Faith then becomes a living experience of relationship, not just an intellectual pursuit.

What does הָעֲבֹדָה, “the service, the worship, the work” mean to us? It means we believe the One the Father sent (Jn. 6:29), and we have given our lives completely into His hands: our worship, our service, our work, the life He rescued and renewed.

Do not close the door to the question, welcome in those who do not know, but would like to ask, even when they do not know how. He has given you the answer, now share it.

Be well. Shalom.

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