This devotional will help you and your team prepare to lead by considering God's kindness.
This, the third in a series of 6 RaiseUP devotions, can be shared amongst team and used individually ahead of the children’s meeting – for example, at home in the week before church. Alternatively, they could be used as a team devotion and a focus for prayer shortly before the children arrive for the session.
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What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given?
[For team reflection] In twos or threes, talk about some of your favourite gifts and what made them so special or memorable.
An A grade at school. A promotion at work. Extra holiday for working overtime. In our day-to-day lives we understand that if we want something good, we need to work for it.
But we’re equally familiar with the idea of gifts: getting something for nothing, simply because the giver wants to give it to us. And one of the amazing things about God’s love is that it falls into this second category – not the first.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ - John 3:16
From a young age, we’re encouraged to earn our rewards. We become very used to the idea that good effort leads to good things. In short – if we want something, we need to work for it.
It’s possible that this idea can seep into how we understand our relationship with God. We might think that God’s love and our efforts are linked together in a tit-for-tat arrangement: that when we do our best for God, He will love us and look out for us.
But this isn’t what the Bible teaches. It’s not that God doesn’t want us to give Him our best. He does, absolutely. But His love for us doesn’t depend upon it. The Bible says that ‘God demonstrates His love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). The Bible makes it clear that God chose to lavish His love on us at the point when we least deserved it - in fact, when we deserved the complete opposite.
Why? Because God’s love is not about US, but about GOD. God IS love. He is good. He is generous. And He chooses to shower that love on us. It’s crazy to think that we could earn God’s love or pay Him back for it. It would be like thinking that we could pay off a luxury mansion house with a monthly allowance of $10!
Nor does He ask us to. God’s love, so supremely shown in Jesus, is His GIFT to us – as Jesus reminds us in John 3:16: ‘God loved the world so much that He gave His son…’
The only thing we can do is to thank Him. ‘We love, because He first loved us,’ says John (1 John 4:19). Our praise, our service, is the best, most-fitting response we have to this wonderful love – a personal thank you note to our generous and loving Father.
Take some time to say thank you to God for the many, many good things He has given to you – big and small!
Pray for the children in your group – that they would encounter that generous love of God. As you name them each them, be sensitive to any words of encouragement He may want you to share with them.
Dear Father God,
Thank you that You love us because it’s Your nature to love. Thank you that we do not need to earn Your love – only receive it as Your amazing gift.
Open our eyes and our hearts to see and love others in the same way. May Your kindness bubble up inside us and overflow to bless the world – for Your glory.
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