In As Much That You Have Done Unto The Least of These
I was sitting outside of my home doing devotions when I saw a neighbor boy step out to play. He had a bouncy ball and tried to bounce it on the dirt. As you can imagine it bounced sideways and rolled behind a big tree. I made a bird sound and he looked around. He knows the bird sound I use to call my children. He looked around the big tree and saw me. Then, with a big grin on his face and a bounce to his step he ran to be with me. We visited a little and my eyes were opened to his deep longing to be with a father role model. This ten year old has not seen his father since he was three. Deep in this boy’s soul something was missing that is explained in 1 Corinthians 4:15. We live in a culture where physical and spiritual Fathering is bankrupt. My heart ached as my emotions embraced the reality of this experience. I had a choice to make. Would I make a quick kind hello, have a great day, nice to see you and send him on his way or would I engage him and be the Father figure this boy so longs for?
We moved to this community mid January and wondered who we would meet and what ministry opportunities would arise. One of the first people we met was a neighbor boy named Sam. Sam told us all about himself and came over almost everyday. It was not long and Sam was treated like part of the family. I can remember a conflict/opportunity created by a trampoline game with Sam and two of our boys. Sam told me that day the idea of saying I am sorry, please forgive me was a new idea for him. My son and Sam both said I am sorry will you please forgive me and Sam looked at me with his hand over his heart and said, “That feels good.” He felt a new freedom he had never experienced before. This was a perfect teachable moment for Sam so I had everyone gather for a story. I silently prayed a quick prayer asking the Holy Spirit to help me as I made up a children's story about good and evil and the need for forgiveness. The idea was for me to use the conflict that happened on the trampoline along with the mutual forgiveness that was just experienced to point towards our need for salvation in Jesus. I did my best to tell the story at Sam’s age level and spiritual interest. These types of experiences take place with Sam about once each month.
One day a police car sped up to our home and an officer got out moving quickly to our front door. I saw this happening through our big living room window so I hurried to meet him outside. He told me a young boy had gashed his head open at the local swimming pool and asked if I would help out. Being new to this small community, I asked if it was Sam and the officer confirmed. I asked, “What did Sam say before you came?” The officer said that he was told to go to the big white house with a trampoline and the man that lived there was a friend and would help out. Honored, I rushed to my truck and followed the police to the pool where ambulance lights were flashing and the whole town seemed to be moving in slow motion watching to see if this little boy was going be ok. After applying a pressure bandage and filling out medical release forms etc. I took Sam home. My wife made contact with Sam’s mom at work. She came to our house and we helped connect them to a Christian Dr. who put staples in Sam's head. Even though we don’t desire these types of crisis to happen, God used it to draw our two families closer together and open more ministry opportunities.
As the days have gone by we have been able to move deeper in relationship with Sam and his mom. We have gone from a front porch relationship, to a living room relationship, to a laundry room relationship.
Sam recently made the decision to put his faith in Jesus. Our family continues to personally spend time with him. We are intentional about helping him grow deep roots in his new faith. We have five children still living at home and all five have helped invest in Sam. We are excited that Sam started memorizing Scripture and attending a weekly kids club with our children. We treat him like he is a part of our family. We don’t see Sam as a project but as a beloved son of the King. Please pray for Sam’s mom to heal from a recent Sepsis episode that nearly took her life. It was this extreme health crisis that allowed us to help out with laundry and food. Pray for Sam’s mom to discover the peace that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus.
Note: I changed the name of our neighbor to show honor to him and his family.