We went to Wal Mart (our favorite store, you know) the other day to pick up some groceries. As soon as we got out of the car, we were approached by a man about my age. He introduced himself then began telling us about how Jesus had changed his life. He had been in trouble — gangs, drugs, crime — and was heading straight towards self-destruction.
“Then, Jesus did a miracle in me,” he said. “He saved me, died for me, made me a new man.” He told us how God had done the impossible in him — how He had saved him from death and destruction and raised him into new life and hope.
He invited us to a evangelism rally at his church, and after shaking hands with Wes, he moved on to the next person walking across the parking lot. The four Faulks began walking towards the store, with neither of the two grownup Faulks saying much about what we had just witnessed.
That was okay, though, because Ana had plenty to say.
“WOW,” she started. “That was AWESOME!”
“What was awesome?,” I asked her.
“That boy! Jesus did a MIRACLE in him!”
I told her that Jesus does a miracle in each one of us, that each and every one of us is born without hope and with nothing but bad in our hearts. Saving any of us, redeeming any of us, making any of us into new creations — miracles!
“Yeah,” she agreed, “but, Mommy, he was TELLING everyone! He was telling everyone how good Jesus was to him!”
Before I could even form a response to this, she whispered something else…
“I would be SOOO scared to do that.”
This is six year old Ana. While I see God doing a transforming work in her heart, I still believe that she is too young in her thinking to understand her need for Christ and much less able respond to Him by faith. In a word? She’s lost, y’all. I trust and firmly believe that one day this won’t be the case and that she’ll love the Lord and live her life for Him. But now, even before she’s saved, she’s already afraid to talk to other people about Jesus.
She’s a good Baptist, that one. Hide that light under a bushel before it even gets lit!
What concerned me and convicted me about this conversation with Ana, though, was her awe and disbelief that real people actually share their faith. I can say that I do a great job of it, but if one of the people who sees me literally twenty-four hours a day has never recognized it in my own life, am I really doing such a great job after all? What’s even more distressing is that Ana (who, again, is lost) is picking up her cues from me. My silence on my faith communicates fear, and Ana, who doesn’t yet understand the Gospel, understands that.
I don’t want this to be the legacy left for her. I don’t want a lukewarm faith in Christ that isn’t worth sharing to be what she learns from me. I want to be so changed and transformed by Christ that I can’t stop from speaking about who He is and what He does… in tangible, real ways that my six year old can see.
Praying towards that end…