The pastor and his wife had the privilege of being substitute teachers for the children’s class one Lord’s Day. The notice was short so they had to rehearse in the car on the way to church for their only preparation. Mrs. Preacher was trying to get the right tune for “This Little Light of Mine!” For this was the song they were to practice with the class in order for them to sing before the entire congregation. And she was, at the same time, looking in the preacher’s Bible concordance to see if Zacchaeus was still in the Book of Luke chapter 19!
The preacher had gone out under the oak tree in their front yard as they were leaving and pulled a young, small oak seedling. He had previously rummaged through their own grown kids old toy box to find a Play School plastic figure to present the story of Zacchaeus.
To get the lesson started, they folded their hands, and with bowed heads and closed eyes the preacher begin to pray. He purposely prayed very slowly and distinctly, while sitting on the little blue wooden chair behind the kidney shaped table. And as he was praying he became aware that one little boy with the baggie full of Thomas the Train toys was softly repeating every single word he was saying for his own prayer. – It was so sweet the preacher was almost distracted from his prayer!
Then as he began reading the story from the Bible and showing how the Lord walked by with Zacchaeus, (the Play School figure), up that tree (the little oak seedling), the cute little blonde girl, directly across the table from him seemed as if she was gonna stare a hole right through him with a fixed gaze. He stopped and asked her a question to try to get her to talk about the lesson. Well, it worked. But then he couldn’t find a way to get her to stop!
Each child was allowed to put Zacchaeus in the tree, with the Assistant pastor’s boy finding a way to hook him in the fork of the little branches so that he wouldn’t fall down! Then he shook the tree quite severely and the figure finally fell out! Trying to use the situation, the preacher immediately stated, “Well, the Bible did say that Zacchaeus MADE HASTE and came down!”
The session ended with the two senior substitutes trying to get the words and tune right for the class to sing “This Little Light of Mine!” They both tried to read each other’s lips, and sing softer than the other, making word-like sounds, hoping for the others musical leadership. It seemed like a lifetime before they could get through with that song and then with, “Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man!”
They hoped that the lesson which they wanted to leave with the children was that although they might be too little to see Jesus, Jesus could always see them. And that Jesus knows where they are and knows their names.
And now – Does anyone know how to get that tune of “The wee little man” out of your mind?
Pastor Gene Breed