A few months ago this phrase echoed in my mind as I was thinking about the children we work with. “Their hearts are getting ready for salvation.”
Jesus also talks about that readiness and how hearts become ready…
“Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge people toward receptive insight.”
~ Matthew 13:12, The Message
I sort of feel that’s kind of like the work we do with these kids – through playing, laughing, creating joy and light in their lives. And learning too, learning about friendships, about what love looks and feels like, what love really is. I feel like somehow through all of that it’s creating readiness, nudging toward receptive insight.
The parable of the seeds also talks about how salvation takes root and grows in our lives.
“The seed cast in gravel- this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.”
~ Matthew 13:20, The Message
The soil has to be ready. There has to be some measure of character in a person’s life – a readiness, a receptiveness – to be able to hear the Word.
So when working with children at risk this is a big part of our job. Helping soften, bringing a tenderness, tilling the soil, taking the rocks out. Watering the hard, dry places.
It happens through love, through relationship, through meeting developmental needs. In this way their hearts are getting ready to receive the Word and let it take root and grow in their lives.