Saturday, 14 September 2013

Valuable Lesson

I stumbled upon this tonight and was challenged, so thought I would share: 


I am 26 years old and I had never approached a stranger to ask them if they know Jesus… until two days ago.
This is my 3 year old – Pie. I am sure he is going to decide that he hates that nickname any day now, but sorry, kid. It is just who you are to me. (When he was little I would sing “Punkin’ pie, apple of my eye, gosh I love you baby.”) The nickname stuck, and to his momma, he will always be Pie.
My little family and I live in a small town, and my sweet little boy is very well-known. He is so friendly and smiles at everyone he meets. He has always been drawn to people and truthfully, people are drawn to him.
Jesus is very real to my son. He is not a character in our Bible. He is our friend and if you ask my son about Him, these are some of the things that he might tell you. Jesus gives us our nice house, our warm bed and all the food in our bellies. He is the reason our ouchies get better, and He is the one who made me in mommy’s tummy. He has lots of power that He shares with us, because He loves us. He always listens when we pray. We can’t see Him, but He is always with us. We can ask Him to help us with ANYTHING. He loves us very much. He loves EVERYONE very much.
Jesus is part of our family and we talk to Him and about Him frequently.
You can imagine the confusion of my little boy when I began telling him a few weeks ago that not everyone we meet knows Jesus. “What do you mean, momma?” When he wants to know more about something he will declare, “Tell me!” “Well, buddy, some people don’t love Jesus, because they have never met Him. They don’t know Him… so they don’t love him.” This is when I began to introduce the idea of sharing Jesus with people that we meet.  Boy, does my son listen well. Ha ha.
Yesterday, we were going to grab a bite to eat at a little café in town and then were going to take it back to our house. We walked into the café, and I walked with my kiddos to the counter to order our food. I am standing at the counter trying to decide what we want meanwhile keeping my sweet 2 year old girl’s fingers out of a giant mason jar containing rice crispies. I look down to ask my son if he wants soup and I realize that he is standing very close to a man who is eating his lunch at a table. Not only is he standing very close to this man, he is smiling and waving at the man. This guy didn’t notice Pie right away, but when he turned, I think he was a little startled to see a kid so close who was waving and smiling at him. The man looked at me and nodded – obviously trying to see if there was some connection between this kid who was acting like he knew him and the parent who obviously didn’t.  My son stands there a minute longer just smiling that this guy, my daughter begs me for a cookie and I am just trying to pay for my food.
A few seconds later, my son runs back over to me and says, “Mommy, I waved at that man and smiled. He is a nice man. He waved at me….. (QUICK PAUSE)… Does he know JEEEESUS?!”
GULP. He announced this in the middle of a busy small town café at lunch. Plenty of folks around and I’m looking around like…. Ummmm…
“I don’t know, baby. You can go ask him!”
“Tell me! Tell me! Does he know Him!?”
I sort of chuckle a little and say, “I don’t know him, and I don’t know if he knows Jesus.”
I gather my stuff, keep my daughter from dropping the rice crispy mason jar on her head, pick up my food, find my keys and say…”Okay, let’s take our food to our house!” My son is still shouting, “Does he know Him?! Does he know Him!? Tell me!” as we leave.
I get the kids buckled into their car seats, my food in the car, drive us home, unload us, get the food on the table and start eating my lunch when I get “that feeling.” Truthfully, that feeling started the second my son asked me in the café, but it intensified until I just couldn’t stand it any longer. If YOU know Jesus, then you might remember this feeling from when you decided to give your heart to Him. It is that overwhelming emotion that will not quit until… you… ACT. I like to call Him, the Holy Spirit, and He is a bossy thing. My son reminds me, “We don’t know if that man knows Jesus. We don’t know if he is going to be in Heaven with us!”
So, I pick up my keys and declare that we are going back to the café to see if that man is still there, and we are going to ask him if he knows Jesus. Folks, I love Jesus. I know lots about Him. I have encountered His love. I have seen His power. I have witnessed His work… BUT I have never approached a stranger to ask them if they know Him too.  Are you like this also, friends?
I start to prepare my son for the encounter that will happen shortly and what the man might say.
“Pie. The man might say, ‘Yes! I know Jesus.’ And we will say ‘Jesus is my friend too!’ And give him a high-five.”
I go on to say, “He might say, ‘No. I don’t know Jesus.’ What are we going to say to him then?”
Pie –  “Well, Jesus knows him! He knows everybody! And He loves them very much!”
I prep him again, “So if the man says, ‘No. I don’t know Jesus.’ We are going to say…”
Pie- “He loves you very much”
“Okay, and if he says he does know Jesus?”
Pie – “We will give him a high-five!”
We are as ready as we can be. I load the kids into the car and start the three minute drive back to the café. That feeling still won’t quit. It overwhelms me. I had no choice but to drive back. It sounds easy and simple – but it was a truly awesome feeling. Ummm… and we are talking awesome as in… BIG. HUGE. SCARY. I look at my son and he is playing in the backseat with a dinosaur toy. His biggest concern on the drive back is if he will get to bring it into the café with him. Doesn’t he know we are about to approach a STRANGER and talk to them about JESUS?!
I pull up and park directly in front of the door. I hop out, and from my car, I will be able to see if the man is inside. It takes a second for my eyes to adjust into the dark café from the sunny sidewalk, but there he is. …Sitting at the same table… Waiting on us.
I unload my kids from the car and walk up to the man. He seems a little unsure of why I am approaching him, and I am visibly nervous. What I say next comes flooding out of my mouth in about 2 seconds…
“Hi. My son was waving at you earlier. He came over to me and asked if you knew Jesus. He was really concerned that you might not. We got home and couldn’t finish our lunch until we came back up here so that we could ask you.”
The man looks at me a bit confused and then over at my son and his yellow dinosaur toy and smiles. I don’t know if he had tears in his eyes, or if I was just looking through the ones in my own, but I will never forget what happened next. He swung his chair towards my son, leaned way down to look Pie in the eye and held out his hand.
“Buddy. Come here. Give me a high-five. Jesus is my friend.”
I wanted to cry. I wanted to bawl right there in the café. He used the exact words that I had used to prep my son. “Jesus is my friend. High-five.” We couldn’t have rehearsed it better. My son says, “He is?!” The man confirms, and I instruct my son to tell the man to have a nice day. I don’t know what my rush was… but I was so overwhelmed with preparing for the beginning part of the conversation that I didn’t know what to say after he said, “yes.” The man asks me if we live in town, and I tell him that we do. He shares that he is a police officer and we determine that he knows my husband who is on our city council. I don’t remember much of the rest of the conversation, but we all said friendly goodbyes and were on our way.
I have thought about this a lot over the last 48 hours.
At first, I felt terrible for not approaching the man in the café when my son asked originally. I felt like I had completely failed him as a parent. If we are supposed to tell people we meet about Jesus, why didn’t you, momma? What stopped you? These are all things I went over in my mind… until I realized that I didn’t fail him. I went back… and by going back we both learned some really important lessons.
1.)    People are always worth going back for.
2.)    It is never too late to turn around and do what God asks us to do.
3.)    It is okay to make a mistake and then show your child what is right.
4.)    No matter what else is going on in our busy days (like ordering food and taking care of our kids) the most important work is sharing the Gospel.
5.)    Asking people if they know Jesus doesn’t have to be scary. It is actually quite simple.
My little three-year-old evangelist will not be like the rest of us. He will not grow up nervous to share his Faith because he is afraid of offending someone. He won’t become a 26 year old adult who has never asked a stranger if they know Jesus. He has no idea that talking to strangers about Jesus is a big deal. To my three-year-old, talking about Jesus is like telling someone about his daddy. He is real, and he is wonderful and you should really meet him!
As parents of Faith, we hope that our children will learn to love God with their whole hearts. We pray that God would be real to them and beyond that that our children will serve Him… but yesterday,
I taught my son  my son taught me the most important lesson a Christian can learn. You met Jesus so that you could share Him with others. So do it. It doesn’t have to be hard. It can be as simple as telling someone, “You might not know Him, but He knows you… and He loves you very much.”

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