Last November I posted about how our kids listen to our actions, and just this last Sunday I was blessed to be able to witness another example just last that I want to share with you.
Before I share this story, I want to reiterate that I do not share this as any sort of righteous testimony to my competency as a parent, or out of pride for the actions of my daughter. I know I have many shortcomings as a parent, and there are likely many more that I have yet to realize. I am sharing this as an encouragement for each of you; so you can see that the children in your life are watching you...they are listening to your actions.
Each Sunday morning for the past few months, my 5 y/o daughter "Minnow" and I wake up and head off to church early so I can finish my prep for the Youth Sunday School class I teach. My wife (who is expecting) and our 2 boys (2 & 3 y/o) stay back and arrive later in time for worship. Minnow & I have developed a bit of routine on Sundays. We leave the house in plenty of time and stop by a local gas station/convenience store and get some breakfast. We typically bring at least one million dollar bill tract in with us to give out in the store, and usually leave one at the pump if we need gas that AM.
Last Sunday as we pulled into the parking lot Minnow asked me, "Daddy, can I give a million dollar bill to the lady at the counter?" I had a feeling this was coming, as we had been talking about whom we would give the tract to ever since we left the house. "Of course!” I replied, and we walked into the store. We picked up my coffee and her water, our sandwiches & some pastries for the boys and my wife and went up to the counter to pay. Without any hesitation whatsoever she handed the tract to the woman at the counter and said, "Did you get one of these?" and immediately followed up with "Read the back when you get a chance." I was quite impressed with how smooth it came out for her, but this isn't even the part of the story that I wanted to share. It gets better.
On the way to church we were listening to a sermon and talking some more about the Gospel. Minnow asked me if she could have a couple of tracts to keep in her bible, and I gave her a few after giving her some instructions:
a) They are for giving away, not to be kept and treated as toys.
b) They should always be kept crisp and new looking.
After church, I headed out the front door and back towards the rear of the building where we parked my truck. As I started walking down the hill I noticed three little pony-tailed heads huddled around the opposite side of my truck. I was wondering what they were up to, and my first thought was that it wasn't something good. I decided to slowly approach the truck and keep the cab of the truck between us to shield their view of me.
As I approached, the only voice I could hear was Minnow. What she was saying absolutely melted my heart. This is what I heard:
"Here girls, take these. They are not real money, they are Gospel tracts, and they have the Gospel on the back of them. Here's what you do with them. You give them to someone that doesn't know the Gospel. Just say, "Did you get one of these?" and then you ask them to read the back when they get a chance. Remember, don't keep them for yourself, they aren't toys. Oh yeah, and don't wrinkle them all up. Keep them flat."
I must admit I was quite filled with pride at that moment, and I had a hard time not just interrupting their little pow-wow and picking up Minnow to give her a giant Daddy-sized hug and kiss. But I quickly checked myself and focused on how pleasing this must have been to the Lord, and thought of how I could use it to teach Minnow a lesson on obedience. It is so often as parents that we only teach lessons of obedience when we are battling disobedience.
On the trip home I asked Minnow why she gave those tracts to her friends and she said, "Because I don't want people to go to Hell, Daddy. They need to know about the Gospel so they don't go to hell."
Maybe I need to start listening to her actions more.