Looking At The Heart

“Mommy, you always say that God looks at the inside and not the outside, so why do I have to wear that dress to church?!”

It was a Sunday morning a few years ago, and my 6-year old was making an impassioned plea, tangled hair flying, outfitted in some worn-out leggings and a mismatched shirt. I felt struck. She was right, of course, but I wasn’t quite sure where to go from there.

For Easter this year, our GRC kids PreK through 5th grade are invited to take part in a children’s choir. (If you have age appropriate children, you should have received an email already, but please email choir@graceredeemer.com if you’d like more info.) In theory, doesn’t this seem like a great idea? Invite the adorable children dressed in their Easter best up to the stage to lead us in song? In theory, sure.

But, church family, what should this look like in practice?

I’m no expert, but here is a place to start: 

  • Pray for our children! Pray that as they come to rehearsals, they would seek to know and care about what the words in the song mean. That they wouldn’t sing them mindlessly. That the word of God would sink down deep into the hearts of these kids and take root. 
  • Pray for their community in Christ. We have home-schoolers, Christian-schoolers, private and public-schoolers in our congregation. What a beautiful gift! Pray that these kids would, regardless of what their district is, be bonded together in the knowledge that they are a church family, that their parents/guardians have made a commitment to the Lord and to the body to bear one another’s burdens in Christ. 

Ultimately, how much does it matter that our kids look adorable on Easter, if the heart isn’t there? And as a parent – what does this mean for me? What are my children gleaning when I fixate so much on their appearance, or their grades, or their extracurriculars, and neglect what truly matters to Jesus – their little hearts? 

“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, you, God, will not despise.”
Psalm 51:16-17. 

“For the Lord sees not as man sees.
Man looks on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7.

My child’s words from that Sunday morning still echo in my head, because they are God’s words. He cares for our hearts so much more than all of the fancy extras we could ever bring him. 

People of God, you don’t need me to tell you this. But sometimes growing up as a “church kid’ can be hard. We can so easily get lost in the motions of what we’re doing that we forget the much greater and beautiful why.  So please pray. Pray for yourselves, for your church family, and for these GRC kids. That they would grow to know, really know, that Jesus is so good, so precious, and so beautiful. That their hearts would be open to him, humble before him, and that ours would be too. 

   

Erika Bourque serves on the Worship Arts Team at GRC.