by Paula Harrington
Our congregation has a bus ministry and we’re blessed each week to have several neighborhood kids participate.
Last Sunday morning, I sat beside one very rambunctious little boy and tried to wrangle him during the service. As I kept quieting him, he continued to talk aloud and make noises.
The Lord’s Supper was nearing and my patience was running thin so I grabbed a pen and sheet of paper and handed them to him. I quietly instructed him to write something.
He replied, “Something God would write?” I nodded. Anything, I thought; my inner voice begging him to calm down and be quiet. A few moments passed before he looked up and sincerely whispered, “But I don’t know anything God would say.”
His sweet little eyes searched mine so I took the paper and pen and wrote the words, I love you, and then handed the paper back to him. “God loves me,” he read and then looked my way.
I nodded at the statement that seemed more like a question. I took the paper and wrote, Mrs. Paula loves you, too. He read the words aloud (of course), “Mrs. Paula loves me but God may love me.”
He emphasized the word may too heavily and I couldn’t stop the flood of emotion that overtook me.
Yes, we were in a worship service and the plates were being passed but all that mattered on the back row of that church building was that a sweet kid with too many problems in his young life, living in the Bible belt of the greatest nation on this planet wasn’t completely positive that the Creator, the Father, the God of Heaven and Earth loved him or not.
I took that piece of paper and wrote, God loves you, Jesus loves you, and Mrs. Paula loves you, and then I put my arm around him and relaxed.
Maybe he did make too much noise. Maybe he was extremely wiggly. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be comfortable and hear everything that was being said from the pulpit that morning because, at that moment, what mattered most was going on where I was sitting.
We can shout that God loves this world from the rooftops but if we don’t take the time to show others that love then our words don’t matter.
We can proclaim the peace that passes all understanding until we’re blue in the face but if we are impatient and rude to others, it means nothing. We can write articles, sermons, and books on the great grace of our loving God but if we don’t give it then what good is it?
I hugged that little wide-eyed boy and vowed to tell him every chance I got that God loves him. I want him to know the one who not only preached a message of love, he lived it.
He wasn’t too good, too busy, or too tired to change lives. He walked among us and saved us. He sent his disciples out into a dangerous and broken world and told them to make a difference. And he tells us the same today.
So, Lord, help us show others your love until they are certain of how loved they are. Guide us while we try and forgive us when we fail but never let us forget how much you care.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV)
Photograph used by permission http://ordinaryphotograph.wordpress.com/