Today we were headed back from Southern California with a group of 8th and 9th graders and something pretty awesome happened; I got to share the Gospel with my 2 and half-year-old son. We were headed into the final In-N-Out stop of the trip and he noticed that there were some cones in the parking lot marking off some broken concrete; he pointed to them and said as only he can, “those are broken,” which he pronounces bwoken. I confirmed that it was indeed ‘bwoken,’ as we continued to the restaurant.
Then something interesting happened, he pointed to himself and said, “Graer not bwoken.” It might not seem like a normal moment to look for deep theological truth or one to make a huge point on a long road trip but I made it one anyway. The world would completely agree with Graer, especially at his age; that he is whole and complete, without flaw and certainly free from sin. The Bible however has some very strong things to say to the contrary. It tells us that no one understands or seeks God (Rom.3:11), that our hearts are wicked (Ps.36:1) and that without God pursuing us we have no hope (1 Jn.4:19). So while the illustration that we often use with kids of us treading water in our spiritual lives and needing a life preserver from Jesus this isn’t what the Bible says about the matter. The picture the Bible paints in one of a corpse being rescued and resuscitated from the deepest confines of the ocean with no hope of redemption or new life (Eph.2:5; Col.2:13).
While I would have loved to have sat down with Graer and broken down the imputed righteousness of Christ for us by grace alone through faith alone (Rom.5:2; Eph.2:8), obviously this wouldn’t be appropriate for him to actually understand. So I went with the response of, “we are actually broken buddy.” He asked why and I said because we’re not perfect, that’s why we need Jesus. To hear him say in an inquisitive tone, “I need Jesus?” (which sounded more like Jebus) was worth the whole trip. We went on to talk about what perfect means and that we’re born need Jesus, which is why He came to save us.
I don’t know what God will do with this little seed that has been sown or what plans He has for Graer but I do know that the Bible tells us we must be faithful with the little things, in the little moments, even with little ones to prepare for the moments and opportunities He has for us later (Lk.16:10).
This might just seem like the ramblings of a Pastor who’s been on the road too long but I think these moments are just as important for the person we’re talking to as they are for how we personally respond and what it says about our heart. Is your heart soft to the opportunity and excited to share the Gospel or closed to the opportunity, assuming a negative result?
Please pray that these words sink deep into Graer and God grows in him an awareness of His sin and needed forgiveness…