The Gospel, Delivered By A Child

I had an entire hour to myself. No work, no people, no responsibilities for an entire hour.

Yes, this is quite out of the ordinary, and I was determined to enjoy myself. I had a little walking around money, so I headed to Target to wander the aisles...for an entire hour.

I had already picked up a necessity, a sort-of needed and a completely frivolous by the time I found my way to the movie and music section of the store. I was having so much fun wandering by myself that I didn't even notice him at first.

All I heard was a voice ask, There's lots to look at, huh?

Now, I'm back in the town I grew up in after being away for more than 10 years. I'm not sure that I'd recognize too many people now. But this voice was very, very young for someone who would know me from Eve.

The boy standing next to me couldn't have been more than 12. He was wearing huge glasses, much too large for his face, and was only wearing a T-shirt and jeans. It may be unusually warm in Iowa right now, but I didn't think it was that warm. Although a good shopping run through Target has been known to warm my heart...

Well, I certainly didn't know him, but I was polite and said, There sure is. This is a pretty big store, and they have something for everyone, I think.

Thinking it was just a passing comment, I started to walk down the next aisle and back into the silence of my alone time. Then I heard the little footsteps.

What kind of stuff are you looking for?

He was right behind me, looking up with a half-smile on his face. I couldn't help but smile back.

I'm just wandering for a while. Not looking for anything special.

He reached for the closest movie and held it up. Have you seen this one? It's really good.

Yes, I have...and it is.

What about this one?

No, not that one.

Oh, well, it's not that good.

As he was talking, I was trying to inch my way down the aisle to continue my shopping. For every step I took, he took two to keep up. I wasn't really trying to escape, just keep moving so I used every moment of my precious hour.

What about music? Do you like music?

He asked in such a timid way that I had to smile again. I walked toward that aisle and said, Yes. I do. Many different kinds.

And he listed all the kinds, groups and singers that he had ever heard. I couldn't help smiling at him and asking questions just to hear him keep talking.

After a few minutes it was time for me to head to the checkout counter. My time was up and so was my spending money for the day. Just as solemnly as could be, he held out his hand and told me his first name. I shook it just as grown-up-like as I could and told him mine.

Then he told me to have a good evening and he disappeared in the opposite direction.

This little boy had me in tears by the time I reached my car. He had completely destroyed my plans for alone time - and I didn't care. He had interrupted my plan for the evening - and it didn't matter. He had even been a little pushy, not leaving my side even as I continued to walk - and it was quite alright.

He hadn't said a word about Christianity, Jesus Christ or God, but I felt like the Holy Spirit had completely washed over me. This child was willing to walk up to a perfect stranger and be friendly. He didn't know a thing about me, but found something fun and interesting to talk about anyway.

Am I like this with the people around me? I think about my family, my co-workers, my church family and the complete strangers who share this town with me. Would I be willing to walk up to someone that I'd never met before and talk to them, just to say hello and have a nice day?

We often think that witnessing to people means quoting Scripture and preaching about hell, and sometimes it is. But this one particular day, God touched my heart through a little boy who just needed a friend.

I pray I was able to show him the Gospel through my words and actions the way he showed me. Whether he meant to or not.

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