On a Saturday night in late January Greg and I were meeting with a group of students to discuss the book Radical. There was no childcare, and we decided that the kids could just hang out and play while we met. Our son Caleb, age 8, was given instructions to help entertain his 2 year old sister so that she wouldn’t becomea distraction. As time went on I noticed Caleb wasn’t entertaining his sister and she was getting more restless. He was just sitting at a table. I will have to admit, as his mother, I was mildly annoyed at this.When we got in the car afterward, I asked him why he wasn’t helping with his sister. He replied, “I’m sorry Mom. I was listening to what you were talking about. I started thinking about all of those people who need to hear about Jesus, and how I need to tell them. But then I thought, ‘before I can tell them, I need to ask Jesus into my heart too.’” Those have to be some of the sweetest words I have ever heard.
When we got home Greg and I talked with Caleb about following Christ. Greg led him through several scriptures. Many of the verses Caleb already knew, because he had learned them in Sunday school and Children’s Church. He understood the decision he was making because we had shared with him, and he had studied it in his Team Kid class on Sunday nights. That night, Caleb prayed, in his own words, and asked Jesus to come into his heart.
God made it clear to me that night that though Greg and I had the privilege of being there when Caleb said “yes” to Jesus, we were only a part of what had helped Caleb come to his decision. Bible stories in Sunday school, lessons in VBS and Team Kid, scripture and songs learned in Children’s church and the influence of a number of godly adult leaders, college students and youth over these eight years were all a part of the process. And the conversation of a room full of college students seeking to follow God topped it off. It takes a church.
What a blessing to be able to see how God uses his people to bring the picture into focus. It is not just the influence of one, but of all of the members of the body that are important. Though at times it may not seem like it, what we bring is significant to the kingdom. That is His plan for sharing the gospel and making disciples. That was His plan all along.
As we celebrate the season of Christmas, I am so thankful for the church. Thank you for being the church. This passage has been on my heart lately, and I want to share it often. From Phillipians 1, “3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Merry Christmas, and may God bless His church.Ginger Bowman, December 2011.