There we were minding our own business, playing Jenga of all things, when my 5-year-old son looked at me and said, “hey dad, I don’t know Jesus.” Not hearing what he said exactly I asked him what he meant. He quickly took his turn and said, “nothing.” I pressed him on it and he said it again. “What do you mean?”, I asked. “Well, I haven’t seen him”, came the reply.
At this point my 8-year-old son chimed in and said, “you won’t see Him now, but when you get to heaven you will.” I was so shocked at the sudden depth of conversation that I didn’t know if I could take my turn or not. I took my turn and they continued talking. My 5-year-old son said, “if you do good things you go to heaven and if you do bad things you go down there'”, pointing down as he said it. It was time for me, the trained pastor, to correct my son. Except, my other son was already doing it.
“No, you don’t do good things, Jesus died on the cross for you.” I looked at him wanting to ask him where he heard such a thing and then realized he had given the right answer. I just added a few comments about what it means to believe in Jesus Christ and why we need Him. I reinforced what they had already said, which was that you cannot earn your salvation. It is a free gift. They went on to talk about if your eyes are open in heaven and how cool that is. Then they went back to Jenga and talking about random things like candy corn and unicycles.
It was a game of Jenga, not a planned devotional. It was a time where we were just hanging out together and God was at work. Did my 5-year-old son fall on his knees and surrender to God? Well, no he didn’t. But, what he did do was talk about his faith with us. He also heard from his brother about Jesus. It is stepping into the opportunities that are there and being ready to share Jesus with people. I am humbled by the way my kids talked about this.
This has happened many times in the context of youth ministry. For example, I was on a retreat one time when one of my students was having a serious melt down. There was a spiritual attack going on and everyone was watching. I had a group of high school students right there waiting for direction. Do you know what they did? Rather then just goof around, they got together and prayed. I did not tell them to do that, but they did it. I was surprised at their response, honestly, but they were responding to God’s work at that time. There is no way to prepare for things like that. Afterward I made a few comments about what had gone on and wrapped it up. God had done something, far more than I even knew at the time.
You are making a difference in someone’s life. Do you realize it? As hard as it might be to live out your faith at home, in school or at work, you are making a difference. One day an opportunity will come for you to say something or minster to someone. Don’t waste it!
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:6