Her bull dozer attitude was backed up by a frame that predicted her future in Roller Derby with the name Malibruize Barbie. Peppermint Patty with a Mixed Martial Arts personality.
So, let’s call this member of the Lollipop Guild that. Patty.
Patty is a regular after-school church kid. On this Vacation Bible School evening she was on a mission. Her medium brown hairline cow lick bobbed as she stomped through the hallway, her flowered cotton dress awkwardly flapping . A nervous worker handed her off to me, and I scooted her in the bathroom.
Before leaving, I re-routed her escape plan to include washing her hands. Her milk chocolate-colored eyes questioned me in the mirror as she squished the hand soap button continually.
“Why are you always here?” she interrogated.
“Well, I like helping kids learn about Jesus.”
She looked down at her slickery hands, slathering the lather up her forearms, sliding over the elbows, up to her arm pits, lost in thought.
“Well, I just don’t care much for Jesus.”
What? My gut twinged in quivers of shock. Once introduced, doesn’t every little kid love Jesus? What is this child doing at Bible School? She’s in the easy age crowd. Sing some old faithful songs, sit her on your lap as you tell a Bible story, and goop up a popsicle cross with some pony beads and felt. As long as she keeps coming in the door, she should be good until Jr. High.
Not that we don’t take our jobs seriously. Eternal life is at stake and a great priviledge to be entrusted with them. We take their faces home with us every night and pray for them. For one to not care ‘much for Jesus’ at this age, is stunningly unusual.
Patty’s reflection gazed back at me, waiting for a reaction.
And immediately, those thoughts flew into the great beyond, right along with this year’s airplane theme. Feelings of inadequacy crashed my confidence, and guilt radioed a May Day to my inner evangelism responsibility.
“Now,” she continued, “I’ll talk to you about God….”
Whew! At starting point. Holy Spirit swooped to the rescue.
Quicker on my feet than normal, I responded. “Oh, Patty, I have good news for you! Jesus is God’s son, so it’s like they are tied together. I bet you’ll learn more about him tonight, and my guess is, you’re going to like him. He’s my very best friend.”
A skeptical expression wrinkled her face, making her eyes narrow. “Ok,” she puffed. “I suppose I can learn about Jesus tonight.” Out the door, her grubby pink flip-flops trudged, sans any excitement. I followed, picking up her trail of cast off paper towels.
Later in the basement, I watched a story scene play out. A master storyteller cradled the attention of 4 year olds to 6th graders in his skilled palm. Vivid scenes of what Jesus had sacrificed for them, played out in real time to total silence. The love of Christ demonstrated itself as it wrapped around their hearts.
Which made me ask, why do I occasionally get so creeped out when a door opens to share Jesus to an unexpected person? Or sometimes even get defensive? When someone spouts off “I really don’t care for Jesus,”–or something stronger–, why don’t I simply ask “why?” and then listen. And love.
God will provide the starting point, orchestrate the follow-up, and already knows the ending. I’m simply a tool–pun sort of intended. 🙂
“Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not because of our works, but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. 2 Timothy 1:9