Kids Club Devotional Part 1: Jesus Calls the Disciples

In our world today, we hear from a variety of voices claiming to offer meaning and life. Media sources tell us that a bigger house, a thinner body, a new job, a different love interest will surely make us happier than we are now. Our discontented hearts are prone to chase after the newest, next, best things in hopes to fill a void they were never meant to satisfy. While the individual messages may look slightly different, our children are bombarded with these things as well. Where will I find my purpose and worth? What/who will I look to and follow for meaning and value? Can these things be found in the world around me or was I made for something else?

This year at Kids Club, we’re excited to see that the meaning, worth, and satisfaction we all long for can only be found through Jesus. Each night, we’ll take a closer look at a Bible story that shows us why Jesus is worth following and what it looks like for us to do so today. Together we’ll learn that because Jesus is worth following, we live for him and not for ourselves. This Big Idea, rooted in our memory verse from Luke 9:23 (NIRV), is where true meaning, worth, and significance is ultimately found.

Whoever wants to follow me must say no to themselves. They must pick up their cross every day and follow me.
Luke 9:23 (NIRV)

As many in our church prepare to participate in Kids Club June 5-9, we want to invite all of the adults in our church to think about what children will learn during our action packed week together. Over the next few weeks, I’ll post a portion of our volunteer and parent devotional to Every Square Inch. We hope you’ll consider learning more about why Jesus is worth following and what it looks like for us to follow Him today. If you prefer, a complete version of this year’s devotional can be found here or at the Kids Club table on Sunday morning.

Day 1: Jesus Calls the Disciples

All of us are tempted to look for meaning or worth by following someone or something.

What/who do we look to find these things? What/who do we often follow?

Countless cultural aphorisms provide more than pithy advice—they offer promises and a worldview counter to the Gospel. From “follow your own heart” to “look out for number one” to “live now, for tomorrow we die,” we are fed a constant diet of lies rooted in the belief that the way to life is found in living for ourselves and following our own desires. Many of us have spent countless years chasing one source and then the next. Our hearts constantly search for more, believing that if I just had _________ , I’d be happy.

There’s a reason that this longing is part of the universal, human experience. As Augustine writes, “Thou hast made us for thyself, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” C.S. Lewis echoes this idea by writing, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” This restless discontent is rooted in the fact that we were made for more. But, this more is something that the world cannot offer; this more can only be found in Jesus.

To one degree or another, the disciples must have felt this ache, this discontent, this desire as well. As members of the human race, they were also searching for someone or something to fill these voids, to give meaning, value, and purpose to rather ordinary lives. They too lived in a broken world that failed to make good on its promises for fulfillment. They too lived with broken, sinful hearts that failed again and again. Perhaps this is why they recognized Jesus was worth following, no matter the cost.

Read John 1:35-51. As you read, underline/highlight any words or phrases the disciples use to describe Jesus.

What did the disciples recognize about Jesus? What made them want to follow Him?

What do the disciples do when they recognize who Jesus is?

Do you think answering Jesus’ call to follow him was easy for the disciples? Why or why not? What did they have to sacrifice to follow Him?

Like the disciples, everything changes when we recognize that Jesus is the Savior of the world. He is worth following because He is the only one with the authority and the ability to heal the brokenness of our sin and the brokenness of the world around us. He is the only person that can truly satisfy our restless hearts, the only one who provides what our other-worldly desires are after.

Like the disciples, Jesus’ invites you and me to follow Him as Savior of the world, not just once but every single day. Like the disciples, this invitation involves sacrifice.

Writing on these verses, John Piper explains,

Jesus was fully human and fully God. He was not God with a human veneer—like a costume. He was a real, flesh-and-blood man, a carpenter’s son. So when he said to fishermen or tax collectors, “Follow me,” their obedience was a concrete, physical act of putting their feet on the ground and walking behind Jesus and being part of his traveling team…He calls us to follow him in his sufferings because this life of joyful suffering for Jesus’ sake shows that he is more valuable than all the earthly rewards that the world lives for. If you suffer with Jesus in the pathway of love because he is your supreme treasure, then it will be apparent to the world that your heart is set on a different fortune than theirs. This is why Jesus demands that we deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow him…Jesus has no desire to trick you into following him with a kind of bait and switch. He is utterly up front about the cost. In fact, he urges you to count the cost.

What does it look like for you and me to respond to Jesus’ call by saying no to ourselves and choosing Him today? What kind of costs/sacrifices might we experience today for following Jesus?

Read the following passages. What makes Jesus worth following, regardless of what it costs?

Romans 8:18

Philippians 3:8

2 Corinthians 4:17

Because Jesus is the Savior of the world, we respond to His call by saying no to ourselves and choosing Him. As we’ve seen, any sacrifice or cost that we endure for Him ultimately pales in comparison to what Jesus offers. As we’ll find out later on this week, Jesus doesn’t ask us to do anything He hasn’t already done Himself, including literally taking up His cross.

Jesus is more than just a good moral teacher, though. He is ultimately the one who gives us the power and desire to follow Him. We don’t just need His example, we need His power and His help to lay down our lives and follow Him. We need Him to give us an eternal perspective that really does view earthly trouble as light and momentary compared to what awaits us in Him. Let’s pray and ask for this now.

Pray: Ask for God’s help to respond to His call in this way. Pray that the kids you meet at Kids Club and/or your own children will do the same.

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