Last weekend, our group of youth leaders had an event in the park geared for kids aged 10 to 18. It was an enormous success and we have many a story about them. But, there were a few that stopped by our table that were outside of that age range.
The first was an old man with no teeth and a cane. He patiently looked on, standing nearby our table while the younger kids were busy making their Valentine’s Day craft. He really looked like he wanted to participate, but nobody was inviting him to find a place at the table. Since I oversaw the candy distribution, I walked up to him during a lull in my duties and handed him a few pieces of candy. He was so happy and had a grin from ear-to-ear. It was an immense joy for me to be able to make that man’s day and the old truth is still true today. It is better to give than to receive.
Another was a mentally handicapped man in his late twenties. He came up to the table and I invited him to make a craft. I could see it was a struggle for him to trace the heart pattern on the paper, but slowly, patiently and methodically, he worked on it. Then, he started cutting out the pattern and I was glad I had something else to keep me occupied because it took all my strength not to just take over his project. Finally, he finished and I helped him glue it together and stuff it full of candy. He was so proud of his finished project and I was so proud of him for not giving up because it was difficult.
Later, in the afternoon, I saw a small girl torn between our table and her mom. She was standing halfway between our display and her mom and looking longingly at the art project and then making sure she wasn’t too far from Mom. Finally, I walked up to her and asked if that was her mom over there and when she said “Yes”, I walked over to her mom and invited them to come participate. The mom gave her OK and I lead the little girl over to the table and set her up with some teenagers to help her complete her project while her mom looked on from afar.
Lastly, near the end, there was three little girls that saw our display and came running up. I said, “Great, we have three more!” as they approached the table. One of the other leaders started explaining to them our project and that it was designed for kids much older than they were. They just looked at her blankly not understanding. Finally, they moved to the other side of the table where some of our teenage helpers gladly got them started on their craft project.
These are a just a few examples of how God puts someone in your life just to see if you will notice them and share His love. It would have been so easy to explain that the project wasn’t for them, but look at what we would have missed out on and how they might have perceived what Christians are. I am so glad I could shine a little of Christ’s light into their lives.