It's just a walk across the street
MADISON, Ind. (BP)--"Hey Daddy, I have another idea and it's one we can do before school is out."
It was Wednesday night. My son and I were driving home from church. He is a typical 7-year-old, full of big ideas and the energy to make them happen. We had just been talking about building a new doghouse this summer.
"OK David, what's your plan?"
"What if we go and talk to some of our neighbors about Jesus? I could read something from the Bible and you could tell them what it means."
I paused, not sure what to say. In that moment, I could think of a dozen excuses. Like too many Christians, we do not really know our neighbors. From what we do know, we are not excited about learning more. In fact, the family he wanted to visit is known for their colorful language. What if they slam the door? What will that do to his faith?
I might have believed these excuses, if God had not been giving me the same burden. Over the previous week, I had felt a growing conviction to witness to families on our block. How could I claim to love my neighbors, if I had never spoken to them? How could I tell them the sweetest name I know, if I did not even know their names?
"OK son, we'll try to go."
"Maybe tomorrow, after you get home from school."
"Daddy this is great. It's just a walk across the street and it's kind of like we're being missionaries."
So, we made our plans, deciding in advance what we would say. He chose John 3:16-17, then packed his Bible in a book bag. He even made some notes to help me explain. That night, we said a special prayer for our neighbors.
Jesus once told his disciples to become like little children. (Matthew 18:1-4) Their humble faith is an example for us all. Kids have not built all the grown-up walls to trusting God. Their world is a simple place. They know they are safe because God made them and takes care of them. When children hear that God loves the world, they believe it. When my son read about the Good news, he wanted to share it.
To my shame, I wanted him to forget about his project. Deep down inside, I did not want the hassle. My heart had become hard toward my neighbors. I wanted to mind my own business, when I should have been minding the Lord's business. How could I not care, when God so loved the world?
By morning, David was calling this our mission. It was something special for father and son to share. Over breakfast and on the way to school, he kept plotting. After school, his excitement had only grown.
"Dad, are we still going?"
It was time. As we walked across the street, my grown-up walls began to fall. After all, this was God's idea and it was up to him to work it out. Following my son's example, I decided to trust and obey.
I knocked ... no answer. I could have given up, but those few steps of faith had filled me with courage. I was not ready to return home defeated. God had given us this mission and we were going to see it through.
"Son, let's keep going and try the other neighbors."
Over the next 20 minutes, we visited two apartments next-door to our house.
"Hello, my name is Tony and this is my son David. We live next-door and wanted to talk to you about Jesus. Would that be OK?"
My son read his two Bible verses, and then I shared about God's loving plan of salvation. It turned out that both ladies we met were church attendees who were already believers. Now that we have learned their names, we hope to become their friends.
"Hey Daddy, when do you think we can do this again?"
"I think tomorrow will work, we still have a lot of people left to talk to."
Like most parents, I learn a great deal from my children. Kids are often the best examples of genuine faith. They are eager to believe the Bible and their small feet are ready to follow after Jesus. May God help us all to become a little more like them.
Tony Kummer is associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Madison, Ind.