Children, Courage, Growth, Living for Christ, Obedience

Pint-Sized Missionary

“I’m going to do something nice for our neighbors” He smiles at me in the low light of darkening bedroom. I see his teeth shining up there in the top bunk.

“Oh yeah?” I question him, interested. “Like what”?

“I’m going to tell them how much Jesus loves them!” His enthusiasm is palpable.

He is so bold, saying these words without hesitation–hope glittering in his chocolate-brown eyes.

He’s asking me a lot lately about how we can tell them about Jesus. I’ve hugged hard, his hunched shoulders when his invitations to church have been shyly declined, or otherwise unanswered. He doesn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to know the Jesus he knows. Really, I can’t either, but my experience has shaped how I choose to witness–or not to witness.

Before I stop myself the words slip out, and the tone I take, low, fearful, consoling —discouragement disguised as suggestion.

{I can’t believe what I am saying}

I offer suggestions for a less obvious witness. I tell him we can show them Jesus in our Christmas cards, and in our cinnamon rolls. I’m talking about hospitality and he’s talking about harvesting souls. I bite my lip, thankful for the cover of evening. My shame glows in the center of his room.

He looks at me square on, tilting his head, chin lifted, he spreads his gangly arms and says with such passion, “wouldn’t you want to hear that God loved you so much that he sent his one and only son to die on a cross for you”?

Who wouldn’t want to hear that good news? 

He’s so genuine I think I might break wide open as I stand there.

I’m searching the carpet for a good reason as to why I just became Peter, looking up at this John crying out in the wilderness of this suburban grid we wind through.

Somewhere a rooster crows.

He’s only eight and already he gets the gravity of the mission. He’s boldly willing to tell them what they need to hear. 

It was my fear of his potential rejection that would trade a muted message of grace for his fearless outright proclamation of the gospel message. My fear-stifled attempts, have only been tucked impersonally in store bought cards and spiraled cinnamon rolls baked once a year in a floppy throw-away pan.

He’s only eight, he’s got it so right already.

My own feeble faith flayed out and exposed, as I watch him embracing Christ in a bear hug of utter abandon.

The child becomes the teacher.

I climb the ladder to his bunk. Clearing my throat I grab hold of his hand, “You should tell them, baby”.  I’m grabbing redemption.

“Who wouldn’t want to hear that good news”?

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

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Comments

  1. Rachel E.

    My son has been witnessing to the neighbor boys.  He is always coming to me and asking me advice.  Though I feel at times it might be a waste of time, I keep encouraging him.  These boys are all atheists, probably taught from their parents.  It’s quite sad.  But, I am proud of him, he gives them something to think about.  I think he would make a great preacher or missionary.

    Reply
    1. alwaysalleluia

      I am so glad you keep encouraging him. I was so convicted during this exchange with my own big boy. Praying that I learn to witness with his boldness. My guy also says he might like to be a pastor, we’ll see what the Lord makes of these little men, eh? 😉  Thank you,  Rachel foryour words. What a wonderful little boy you are raising. God be praised.

      Reply
  2. Ro elliott

    Oh let the children lead us…and isn’t true..how a child shares and an adult may be two totally different ways…simplicity can be done with a pure heart…a heart of a child.  I love too how God recuses us as momma’s…letting our children go with HIM. blessings~

    Reply
    1. alwaysalleluia

      Yes, Ro. God is so fantastically good and never ceases to amaze me with His grace, such flagrant grace for us as we try so hard, too hard maybe, to navigate the waters of motherhood. I will always be learning. Sweet blessings, my friend.

      Reply
  3. This is great! I was shamed similarly by my daughter recently as she quizzed a friend on why she didn’t know anything about Jesus. Why do we grow more fearful of embarrassment and rejection as adults? (or do we, kids don’t like rejection either, maybe they do simply understand faith better).

    Reply
    1. alwaysalleluia

      I don’t understand it myself, Mike. I think for me, I have been rebuffed for sharing the gospel message, and that has shaped my witness (not that it is right, just stating the facts) My son has not had any real rejection for his faith yet, I know for me, my old wounds are a hinderance for how I share my faith. Praying through that these days, but the journey is not an overnight expedition. The scar tissue must be excised and patched. What a great physician we have though, eh? 😉 Praying for you, my friend.

      Reply
  4. Oh to be bold, fearless, sincere, real. to see the world so pure.  like a child.
    we have so much to learn from those who are supposedly under our care, don’t we.
    so blessed you shared that moment with us, thank you!

    Reply
  5. Oh, this says a lot about your Momma’s heart too I think. What a couragous genuine young lad. Love it. My son came home recently from youth group one evening and said youth group was awesome as a status update on Facebook. When a friend responded Why in the comments, my son said because we learn about God. It made me smile.

    Reply
    1. alwaysalleluia

      What a beautiful thing, Shelly. How wonderful to see the Lord moving in your sons life like that!  I have goosebumps 😉 Praying he continues to grow in the Lord, and that he never wanders far from the rich faith you have led him to. What a wonderful Mamma you are! Thank you for sharing this, what a beautiful moment.

      Reply
  6. Wow.
    I learn over and over again that my son is NOT the introvert that I am.
    That I have to stop placing my fears, based on MY experiences, on him–

    and then, in reading this, I remember that “a little child shall lead them” and that our boys and there unfettered faith, may just be the beautiful, unspoiled witness that shines the brightest.

    *hugs*

    I cannot thank you enough for sharing this story.
    I am moved to tears, and introspection, and prayer.

    Reply
    1. alwaysalleluia

      Oh Meredith. What sweet grace it is to be led by these children. I will never get over the stretching I experience as a mom, the way God uses these babies to shape and mold me into something more useful…. praying for you my friend, I know the fears and the projection of them onto our children. I am in recovery…. Bless you, sweet sister. 

      Reply
  7. And Jesus said to come to Him as a child.  They are so pure, so bold, yet unstained from this world.  Sometimes the boldness of my children scare me.  My mama heart not wanting them to be rejected for their faith.  But a little child shall lead them.  Such a beautiful witness your son is.

    Reply
    1. alwaysalleluia

      Unstained… yes, I work tirelessly to preserve their innocence. There is no turining back, once the stains set. Then, it’s only healing and treating, and recovery. I am thankful for his little wild heart. So grateful for the ways he lives his growing faith. He doesn’t know how he blesses me…

      Reply
  8. Children come with such wisdom – how to love – and the world does such a good job of tempering it with fear and hatred, so that as adults we forget that the gospel message is really quite simple. Why do we complicate things? Why can’t we listen to children, the “foolish things of the world” whom God has chosen to use for his good purposes?

    Reply
    1. alwaysalleluia

      All important questions. I don’t know why we stumble with this. I know for me, it’s fear, rejection, old wounds with their grimey fingers holding my lips still. I am so thankful for the way God uses my children to grow me. Bless you, friend. May we boldly proclaim the saving grace of Christ!

      Reply
  9. This is a beautiful story of such pure faith… if only I could become a child again and believe like one. You are a good mama…as you yield and did not miss the opportunity to lead, or maybe even be led. A young evangelist in the making … carrying the burden of our Lord’s heart, and the Good News to the world… fearlessly… I can imagine him years from now, reading the words his mama wrote… and thanking you for believing in him and Him…

    Blessings to you, friend.

    Reply
    1. alwaysalleluia

      Yes, God is graciously growing these little ones right under my nose. It is purely His mercy and goodness that their faith blossoms even as mine is challenged and tongue-tied. How good is the Lord we serve, how rich His unfailing mercy!

      Reply
  10. Rebecca

    Oh sweet friend, your son reminds me of mine….he shared the gospel…it didn’t turn out so well….there will be times of persecution…for some or all….but, either way, what a blessing you are as a Mother to raise a son to Glorify God….Me…I need to let go of fear…and the rejection….Love you!

    Reply
    1. alwaysalleluia

       Oh Rebecca. I am sorry your son had to experience that. It hurts. And you’re right, there will be times of persecution. I too need to let go of fear, to accept healing for the rejection, to live unafraid at the side of Christ. Bless you, my friend. ((hugs))

      Reply
  11. Mary Schieferstein

    Oh, oh, *oh*!  How the faith of a little child so completely surpasses my own!  How I let the world trick me into not living like this, into forgetting how important the Message is, how *essential*, how *beautiful*!  How could I not share it?  Oh, I am so guilty of hiding.  So, so guilty.  Praise God for grace, and for the simple, beautiful examples of children – children not yet deceived by the world.  *Oh, God, teach me to live like this!* Thank you so much for sharing this.  I need this.  I really, really need this.

    Reply
    1. alwaysalleluia

      Mary, bless your heart, thank you for your kind encouragement and words. ((hugs)) my friend! May we stop being afraid and share it with all the joy and excitement of our children.

      Reply

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