It was the day before Easter, March 30, 1961, and Peter’s 5th birthday had been the day before. It seemed he was on a roll, even though he was in a new community that year. His dad was a minister, and the family had moved to town the summer before. It was a nice little southern town, and the folks were friendly.
Since it was the day before Easter Peter was going to participate in his first church-sponsored Easter Egg Hunt. He and his mom had dyed a dozen eggs and taken them to the church ahead of time, and Peter was excited to go, he supposed. Having never been a part of an Easter Egg Hunt, he wasn’t really sure what it was all about, but at that point it sounded fun enough.
They were just about ready to leave, and then the phone call came… and dragged on… and on… and so they were a few minutes late leaving the house. Uh oh!
As Peter and his mom arrived for the big event, the starting whistle had just been blown, and there was a mad frenetic dash toward the treasured, multi-colored, prized eggs. And even though his freshly five-year-old legs were moving as fast as they could, Peter was overwhelmed by being left behind. But his mom and a friendly teenage girl were urging him forward when “CRUNCH!” Peter had stepped right onto one of those treasures that he sought. He lifted his foot to reveal what he feared, and he looked at his empty Easter basket. And his lower lip began to tremble.
Little did Peter know that the friendly teenager was prepared for just such an occasion. With extra eggs in her pocket she took Peter by the hand to continue his hunt. Amazingly, Peter started to find a beautiful egg at every turn. And his mom watched with delight as she saw this sweet girl play a skillful game of distraction and discovery, resulting in a basket of six beautiful eggs for Peter!But that’s the way it is in children’s ministry – it’s always important to have some extra eggs because there’s always an empty basket. It is in “extra eggs” that we give the gift of grace. Click To Tweet
Spotting the Empty Basket
Peter’s story is not unusual. There’s always an empty basket at the Easter Egg Hunt. That’s why we literally bring the extra eggs. But Peter’s experience is not limited to Easter Egg Hunts. Children often feel that they hold an “empty basket” and don’t know what to do or to whom they should turn.
- Many a child holds an “empty basket” when he or she is left in the church nursery for the first time.
- The child that is the new student in the Sunday School class often holds an “empty basket.”
- The child whose parents can’t afford the annual school supplies or uniforms,
- The child who is “food insecure,”
- The child abandoned by her parents,
- The child that is abused,
- The child whose family has no interest in spiritual things.
Extra Eggs on Hand
And so we, the Church, must have extra eggs on hand to help address the needs of children who simply feel alone, as well as for those children who are caught in the crossfire of misshapen relationships or a tragic lack of resources. These extra eggs are indeed gifts of grace and often open the door into the life of a child who so desperately needs that gift.
We must have extra eggs available in every setting, and all of our personnel must know how to look for all kinds of empty baskets.
Extra Eggs Are a Sign of the Resurrection
So… I’m sure that you will have some extra eggs at your Easter Egg Hunt. But I bet you’ll also have those “extra eggs” in your other settings and that you’ll have trained your personnel, both paid and volunteer, about the importance of extra eggs.You see, they are not only gifts of grace. Extra eggs are also signs of the extraordinariness of Resurrection. That’s what grace does. That’s what Resurrection does. It goes way beyond anything that we might have expected. Click To Tweet
May all the gifts of Resurrection be yours this Easter. And I hope that in the giving of extra eggs, you will see the Christ at work. If you want to bat some ideas around about how to share extra eggs in your ministry, email me at [email protected]. I’d love to spend some time in conversation about giving this divine gift of grace to children in your care.