Sunday, March 3, 2013

I give You me

Here is a true story about a nine year old boy who lived in a shabby house in a poor area of a rural community.  A church bus ministry pastor came knocking on his door one Saturday afternoon, and as the boy answered the door, the pastor’s enquiry to see his parents met with the answer that they went out every weekend leaving the boy at home to take care of his little brother.           

The pastor was astounded and asked the boy to repeat this, and when he heard the same answer, he asked if he could come in to talk with him. In the living room they sat on an old dilapidated couch. Asking the boy "Where do you go to church?" the pastor was surprised to hear "I've never been to church in my whole life." Thinking about the fact that his church was less than three miles from the child's house, he said "Are you sure you have never been to church?" "I sure haven't," he answered. The bus pastor then said, "Well, son, more important than going to church, have you ever heard the greatest love story ever told?" He then proceeded to share the Gospel with this little nine year old boy. His young heart was softened, and at the end of the story, the pastor asked if he wanted to receive this free gift from God. The youngster exclaimed, "You bet!" The two got on their knees and the lad invited Jesus into his little heart and received the free gift of salvation. Standing up, the bus pastor offered to pick the boy up for church the next morning. "Sure!" the nine year old replied.

Early next morning, as promised, the bus pastor arrived at the house to find it in darkness, so letting himself in, he found his way to find the little boy asleep in bed. He woke him and his brother and helped them get dressed. On the way in the bus they enjoyed a donut for breakfast. The church was large, and as this boy had never been to church before, he just sat there, wondering what was happening.   

During the service, some tall unhappy looking guys walked down to the front and picked up some wooden plates. One of the men prayed and the boy, with utter fascination, watched them walk up and down the aisles. At first mystified, he suddenly realized what was taking place. These people must be giving money to Jesus. He then reflected on the free gift of life he had received just twenty-four hours earlier. He immediately searched his pockets, front and back, and couldn't find a thing to give Jesus. By this time the offering plate was being passed down his aisle and, with a broken heart, he just grabbed the plate and held on to it. He finally let go and watched it pass on down the aisle, then backwards and forwards all the way to the rear of the sanctuary.  

Then this little nine year old boy, in front of God and everybody, got up from his seat, walked about eight rows back, grabbed the usher by the coat and asked to hold the plate one more time. Taking the plate, he put it on the carpeted floor and stepped into its centre.  He lifted his little head up and said, "Jesus, I don't have anything to give You today, but just me. I give you me!

As we journey towards Easter, may we reflect on this simple, but profound story with its personal challenge to us all.

 Bulletin 3-3-2013 available here