SERMON TITLE: “A Little Child Shall Lead Them: A Girl Who Offered God’s Help”
SERMON TEXT: 2 Kings 5:1-15a
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: September 13, 2020, at First UMC
In 2018, our Mountain Sky Conference bishop, Karen Oliveto, published a book. In the introduction of that book, Bishop Karen wrote about her formative childhood experience in Long Island, New York, at the Babylon United Methodist Church. That church valued ministries to children and youth, and Karen found herself very much at home in Sunday School classrooms with flannel board Bible story figures. As a fourth grader, she began participating in the Wesley Choir, where not only was her singing affirmed but also her attempts at playing the guitar.
One day, her choir director and minister, Rev. Ken White, asked 11-year old Karen what she wanted to do when she grew up. Karen had had a fascination with the stars, so she told him she was considering astronomy. But when Rev. White asked young Karen if she had ever considered becoming a minister, it was like a shot of electricity flowed through her body. At that time in her life, Karen had never seen a woman minister before, but “from that moment on,” she knew “what God had created [her] to do.”1 During the rest of her childhood and throughout her teenage years, Karen’s sense of call to serve God and the church through ordained ministry was affirmed over and over again. That confidence in God’s calling later sent Karen to study at seminary, become ordained, serve local church ministries, and eventually lead our denomination as a United Methodist bishop.
During this month of September, we’re focusing our attention on the words of Isaiah 11:6, that—in God’s ideal kingdom—“a little child shall lead them.” Last Sunday, we began to fill in that idea with the story of young Samuel. Born as a child of promise, Samuel was “a boy who heard God’s voice.” Today, we move on to Second Kings, chapter five. Let’s see what leadership lessons we can learn from this story of “a girl who offered God’s help.”