There I sat, quickly eating cold cereal at church, on an early Sunday morning. I had only a few minutes before we were to begin practicing the songs that we would lead during that morning's worship service. My youngest son, Levi (7), sat across from me still working on his own bowl.
"Mommy, can you make me toast?" said my cute little 7-year old son.
I had not yet spoken...but my face must have shown that either I did not have the time or did not really want to. (If I am being truthful...everyone in my house loves toast. In the same breath, they also loathe making toast...which means it usually falls on me to do.)
"I'll make him toast!" said this little boy we had met only weeks ago, when he showed up at our church with a friend of ours.
I have come to know that this little boy has every reason to be destroyed. He has endured much pain in these first years of his life. He has seen and heard things that I can guarantee would make me cringe. And yet...he remains sweet. But how? The day he walked into our church may have very well been his first experience with God and His followers, but I can assure you...someone in his life; a grandparent, an uncle, a friend of the family, a teacher...someone has been praying for this little boy. And it is evident that Heaven heard every request for the safekeeping of his heart.
At his offer to make my son toast, I felt a slight twinge of guilt. *Insert inner sigh here* Just as I was about to tell him I would do it...he turned to me.
"I will make you toast too! Would you like toast, Vanesa?"
As I told him that he did not have to do that for me; he responded, "I know, but I want to!"
"Sure, that would be great," I said Levi spoke up with his toast topping requests.
"Make mine with jelly and butter," my son said with a huge smile.
He seemed a little bit confused as to why someone would want both jelly and butter. He even asked us both separately to be sure. I wasn't sure what was going through that mind of his...but I was about to find out.
A few minutes later he sat this plate in front of me at the table. *Remember the order of the toast toppings....jelly AND butter. Therein lies his confusion. Who would put butter on TOP of jelly? Hahahahaha!*
When the serving heart of a child, makes you toast with jelly and a cold chunk of margarine on top...I highly suggest you smile and say THANK YOU! It was not his culinary skills that God was pleased with that morning...it was his sweet heart. (Let that sink in for a moment. Those who doubt their ability to do what God is asking. Your heart is what He sees!)
I sat and ate every last bite of my toast. As I chewed...I was completely in awe of how good God has been to this boy who is just now getting to know and experience Him. I thanked God for the display of His all-powerful protection over this little boy's heart, through this act of love.
It was not about the toast. It was a tactical lesson for me. (A cold chunk of margarine really sticks with a girl....both literally and figuratively! Hahaha!) To me the toast served as a reminder that God truly is a good good Father. It was a glimpse into the love language of one of God's infant warriors. He was just learning how to love like God intended it...and he. was. killin'. it!
What about us church? Are we seeing broken children(people) as damaged, beyond our ability to repair...or as opportunities for restoration. We don't have to do the impossible. We serve The One and ONLY TRUE GOD who does that. We need only to be obedient in Love.
Can we strive to follow the example set by Jesus, Himself?
Can we pray without being asked?
Can we love without expectation?
Can we show grace for behavior that we deem 'unacceptable', according to our upbringing, with the realization that they too need to be taught right from wrong?
Can we gently guide with a soft answer of Truth?
Can we give without expecting even a thank you in return?
That last one can be a hang up for us. Thank you. It is simple. Some would even say it is common sense. And yet...when a thank you is not offered when it clearly was the appropriate response...it has even the most generous of Jesus followers want to throw in their apron and go home. Who wins when we stop serving because of what WE did not receive? Who is likely to have authored that thought anyway?
Jesus came, when He did not have to. Jesus gave, right up until His time here was done. Jesus finished the work that He began even when the world hated him. The thank you's didn't come until the hearts of the lost could grasp the weight of what He had done for them. The same concept applies. We expect fruit from a tree that has not yet found living water.
Do not underestimate the power in your prayers for the least of these. When God lays it on your heart to pray...for a child walking through Walmart with an adult that is yelling insults and cuss words...do not hesitate. Heaven hears you. Heaven wars with you. That child needs someone to love them enough to intercede. Let it be you!
Matthew 25:39When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ 40And the King will reply,‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’