“Hey,” a little boy’s voice called after me as I left the beach today with a friend and two Walk by Faith Ministry dogs wearing their “Adopt Me” vests. “My mom said I couldn’t adopt your dogs.”
I did not know the boy, I did not know his mom, and in fact I saw no mom in sight. He had left his mom behind to chase after us on his way to his vacation residence.
“You’re welcome to pet the dogs,” I offered. I am learning not to be bothered when I am interrupted. I had been engrossed in conversation with my friend, but I am becoming increasingly sensitive to opportunities to fulfill the ministry’s mission – to share the Gospel as we minister the Lord’s love to people and homeless dogs.
The boy was eager to pet the dogs, and to engage in conversation. As soon as my friend stepped away with one of the dogs to do something, I took the opportunity to ask a question. Little did I know I was not there to teach, but to learn.
“Do you believe in God?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied easily.
“Do you know about Jesus?” I said.
“Yes,” he answered just as easily.
“Who is He to you?” I retorted. “Is He your – ” I started to say.
I wanted to ask if Jesus was the boy’s Lord.
But the boy responded too quickly for me.
“He’s my friend,” the boy explained.
Wow. I had asked such an innocent question and received such a wise answer.
It wasn’t until the boy left, my friend and I had said goodbye, and I had time to reflect did I realize the BIG faith lesson I had learned from a 10-year-old boy.
Sometimes I get so caught up in religion – i.e. saying everything “right” and doing everything “right” – that I lose the very meaning of what I am trying to convey.
To this 10-year-old boy, Jesus is not only Lord. He is a friend!
To this 43-year-old woman, sometimes I imagine the Lord way up in the sky or deep down in my heart – forgetting He is not only the Lord of all.
Jesus is my friend.
Today, a 10-year-old boy in his innocence and simple faith reminded me to untangle myself from religion and remember relationship.
When my friend walked back over to us before we all left, I asked the boy to share with her the name of his friend.
“Jesus,” he told my friend.
“Hey,” my friend said. “That means we all have the same best friend!”
Indeed we do. And, thanks to today’s BIG faith lesson in a LITTLE package, I will go to sleep tonight basking in the love of my very best friend.