Roll the Gospel Chariot Along

Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game. Michael Jordan

Sometimes we adults forget the importance of just having fun. I'm not talking about fun in sinful pursuits, but about the everyday joy that I am convinced God wants us to experience. I just finished a week that left me (and about 25 other adults and teens) totally exhausted, but absolutely and completely filled with joy - it was Vacation Bible School week.

About 45 years ago, some very clever individuals came up with the brilliant idea of the Gospel Chariot. The Gospel Chariot was (and still is) a cotton trailer. Now, there is nothing really spectacular about an old cotton trailer, but there is something quite wonderful about what is done with that trailer. At the end of the school year we drag the trailer out, air up the tires, put everything in safe, working condition, add benches and signs and in a few short hours we have a Gospel Chariot.

Then, for four days we haul that wonderful chariot around Happy, Texas and pick up about 50 kids to take them to Vacation Bible School. We learn everyone's names and laugh, we sing songs out of tune and laugh, we visit in between stops about vacation plans and laugh (you get the idea) and then we go inside for an hour and a half of Bible classes.

The Bible classes are essentially what they were when we started nearly half a century ago. The kids go inside and learn Bible lessons like Daniel and the Lion's Den, David and Goliath, the Creation and the Flood. And, the teachers teach them about God and Jesus and what They have done for us and what They expect of our lives. They break for about thirty minutes for cookies and punch, they play tag and Red Rover, they finagle another cookie or two from our sweet "snack ladies", and then they go back inside for another Bible lesson.

Our Bible teachers and their helpers are very kind and very long-suffering (you will understand "long-suffering" if you have ever tried to teach a class of 15 or 20 grade-schoolers who are all experiencing a sugar high), and they are very serious about just teaching the Bible. They help their kids with their memory verses and then they send them off for a return trip on the Gospel Chariot.

On the return trip, we sing sings off key and have fun, and we "spritz" those who need a "spritz" (a spritz is a squirt of fine mist in order to fend off the ravages of dehydration resulting from the grueling 30 minute chariot ride in the blazing sun) and we laugh, and we drop off the kids and we laugh, and we take the nearly full Gospel Chariot back to the building to drop off 90% of the kids who would rather walk home than miss a minute of the ride... and we laugh and we have fun.

Now, all this may seem frivolous to those of us who have forgotten what it means to enjoy the ride, but for those who are accustomed to joyous living, it does not seem frivolous at all. God has called us to a life of service, it's true, but He also wants us to have joy in our lives. Too many Christians, I am afraid, have forgotten about joy. They have forgotten that "God so loved the world" and therefore they have forgotten what all good parents should never forget: The desire for their beloved children to grow up and to be responsible and to actually amount to something in life... but also that their children have a good life filled with happiness, and good clean fun, and joy.

This is what God desires for us as well. He loves us. He expects much of us. He wants us to be with Him forever (on His terms - not ours). And...he wants us, I am firmly convinced, to enjoy the ride. This is what we do on the Gospel Chariot when we are kids, and this is what we should do, we must do, if we are to ever experience the joy that God and Jesus have called us to. Please, I beg you, do not forget to enjoy the ride!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4, NIV