Last Sabbath our local Founding Fathers got together at our church for a special service and fellowship dinner. Each one of them stood up at the podium and reminisced about how they formed a circle of believers and shared stories about building a church from the ground up with just the sweat on their brows and $16,000 in 1965. It was really an uplifting service and I felt like I had the chance to really understand a little more about how close a family of believers can be. I thought it was pretty neat to be part of the family with 4 generations still attending the same little church that Grandpa J was one of the founders of. He had a big part in the building of our church and I think that's a tremendous legacy for our kids.
During the service, one of the founders shared a children's story about a little boy who was 5 years old (almost 6!) who wanted to be a missionary. He asked his pastor how he could be a missionary when he was still so small, and the pastor told him to share his love for Jesus with the people around him. So next day the little boy took his Bible, crossed the street in his little neighborhood, and knocked on the neighbor's door. Inside, he asked the lady of the house to read John 3:16 (since he couldn't read for himself yet, you know). After she read the verse, the boy said to her, "Aren't you glad you have a God who loves you so much He gave His only Son for you?". And then he prayed with her. After he left the first house, he went next door, and on down the row until he'd visited all of his neighbors. He told them all as he left that he'd be back next week, and each week he remembered his promise. Eventually he began to ask them if they'd like a visit from his pastor, and after some time, several neighbors became baptized.
Joshua was so fascinated with the story of a little boy just his age that he didn't notice the boy next to him making funny faces, or his sister on the other side of him making faces back.
I thought it was a beautiful story, but didn't realize the impact it had had on Joshua until yesterday afternoon. I was in the house fixing supper when he marched in, grabbed a Bible, and announced he was going to be a missionary. I turned around and eyed him up. Hmm.. Yep, he had that glint in his eye. He was serious.
What was I going to do but support him in his desire? I looked the situation over and traded him my small flap-cover Bible for Colby's bigger study Bible that he'd picked up, then listened as he told me how he was going to take the tricycle instead of his bike since he couldn't carry the Bible and ride a bike at the same time. "Wise choice!", I said, as he strode out the door.
Without any hesitation whatsoever, he hopped onto the tricycle just as his sisters sat down to eat their supper. I walked slowly to the edge of the yard as he rode along the side of the road. He dropped the Bible a time or two, but stopped and picked it up gently and dusted it off before tucking it back under his arm and going on his way again. He never once looked back or second guessed his choice to do this. Just onward and forward with every confidence it would all go fine!
He pulled up their driveway and parked his tricycle, marched up to the door, and disappeared inside. I waited. Five or six minutes passed. I was just about to march down there and retrieve the boy before he became a nuisance when out the door he sprang, ran to his tricycle, and pedaled for home!
I asked him how it went, and he said, "Good. But one of them smoked." I asked him if they read the verse for him, and he said that they did. I asked which verse they read. "John 3:14!". I laughed. I had tried to help him remember the verse was John 3:16, but for some reason this always gets mixed up in his mind.
I was very proud of him. He plans to go back again, and he also wants to visit the rest of the neighbors. These were the closest neighbors, and that was nerve-wracking enough! I don't know what I'll do when he wants to ride across the valley!
But as I looked at that earnest little face, there was no way I could discourage or squelch that desire to do what was right and good, even though it made me nervous. Such faith, such bravery! I think I could learn a little from that kind of attitude!