A few weeks ago I told about how I had to stop preaching one Sunday so that everybody could watch a deacon swat a wasp. When it comes to distractions, however, insects cannot compete with babies.
I was preaching on another Sunday night in that same church, when a lady on the front row started feeding her baby. She propped up the 1-year-old in front of her, so that the infant was facing the rest of the congregation, and slowly put spoonfuls of baby food in the child’s mouth. I saw every eye in the congregation leave me and turn toward the little one to watch. Great big smiles came across their faces. I guess my sermon had them sad but the kid made them glad, but I don’t think this is what the Bible meant by “a little child shall lead them.” I could have turned to the wall and preached, and nobody would have noticed.
At least she didn’t breast-feed! My father, who is a retired pastor and chaplain, tells me that happened once when he was preaching. When he was a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, he served as pastor of a little church along the Mississippi-Louisiana state line. Many of the members floated down the Pearl River to get to church. It was definitely not a congregation that got overly concerned about formalities. I was an infant in arms, so Dad would hold me and lead the singing while Mom played the piano, and then Mom would hold me while Dad preached. One Sunday morning as Dad was preaching, an older preschool child of a member was running wild. His mom, who was sitting on the front row, grabbed him and began nursing him right there in front of God and everybody. It closed his mouth but caused many other mouths to drop open. Needless to say, Dad lost the congregation’s attention that day.
What we sometimes forget is that after a new believer is born again by faith in Christ, baby Christians need feeding, too. The Bible says, “Like newborn infants, desire the unadulterated spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2, HCSB.) Scripture declares, “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ” (Romans 10:17, HCSB).
So take your kids to the nursery, bring your Bible to church, sit up front, tune out distractions and take notes on the message. Sunday is the time when you need to get fed, baby. ;-)
(Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)