The LORD is Gracious – Week of September 11, 2023

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
Psalm 145:8-9

Take a minute and think about the children in your room or class. As you think about the children, write down 2-3 words that describe each child. You may be thinking of things like thoughtful, eager, impatient, inquisitive, impulsive, creative, nurturing. Your group is very likely a mixture of all kinds of traits and personalities. You grow to care very much about each child. Over time you learn their strengths and struggles. As a teacher, you strive to find a way to connect with each child to help them build on their strengths and address their struggles. Some, as you know, are easier than others.

As I read today’s verses and think about the key words, I’m humbled in so many ways. Gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, rich in love, good to all. Oh how I would like to have those gifts! I think of my own struggles, my continuing battle with my own sins and shortcomings. I would expect it to be so frustrating for anyone around me but especially for my LORD. “There she goes again!” would not be a surprise for me to hear said about me. I think those words about myself at times. Thus, “gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, rich in love, good to all” are words of overwhelming comfort to me. God has never said that sins are excusable. Sin permeates our world and our own lives. And yet, there is our God, our LORD, our Savior. He looks at us with his grace, with compassion. His love is endless for all.

And then we think of our class. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Each child in your class is someone who God has made. Each child is someone for whom Jesus lived a perfect life, died a horrific death, and rose again from the dead. He looks at each child with compassion, with his grace, with his love. And on top of that, he asks each of us to be one of those who shares all that with them. Humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude for the compassion and grace he has for us, we can look at each child with love and strive to be patient, compassionate, reflecting God’s grace for them. We can look at them as a fellow brother or sister in Christ who was redeemed by Jesus. What a privilege to be able to be one of those who encourages their gifts and guides and supports them in addressing their struggles. All with grace, compassion, and full of love.

Take another look at your list. As you consider the strengths and struggles of each child, consider how you can help them see how dearly they are loved by the LORD. Consider how you can build them up, help them work on their struggles, and comfort them with knowing that God looks at them with grace, compassion, and love. And as you do, remind yourself as well. You are dearly loved by God who is gracious and loving to all he has made—including you.

Dear LORD, thank you for your patience, love, and grace for me. Help me to reflect all of this with the children I serve and with all those around me. Help me to be a reflection of your grace that draws people closer to you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

A Thought to Consider:
Take a few minutes and write down the name of each child in your class or a list of people you know. Write 2-3 words that describes them. Then thank God for their gifts. Consider ways you can encourage them in their strengths and as they struggle. Write down 1-2 ways that you can strive to be a blessing for them. Pray for them and for God’s help in reflecting him to them each day.

Early Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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