I have been making a concerted effort to complete a lesson a day (even if Jeremiah doesn't nap) to finish my Liberty University Home Bible Institute program by May. Graduation is finally in sight. I even added it to my Facebook profile to help with personal accountability...because you know THAT helps!
Well, as I am 7 out of 8 lectures through the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, I stopped dead in my tracks in the baking aisle of Wal-Mart today. As I grabbed odds and ends from my list (groceries, wrapping paper, a Sharpie for Christmas cards, etc.) I was letting Jeremiah lead the way and help pick things from the shelves. That's when it happened!
Jeremiah, age 4 1/2, picked up one the of the large economy sized vats of vegtable oil (not on The List). Why do they put the big things on the lowest shelves? Every notice that? Stuggling, he turned to the attravtive elderly lady standing next to him and in a voice of a 30 year old he announces, "Ummmm....I have a question for you."
"For me?" she smiles.
"Yes, just for you," he assures her. "Do you believe in Jesus?"
Oh Jeremiah, we don't even know this lady. Lord, what is he going to do if the woman tells him "No." Jesus, what do I do if she tells him, "No"?! Should I intervene and smooth this generationally challenged conversation over? I let him speak.
The lady walks over, Jeremiah stops stuggling with the oil and sets it down right between them in the middle of the aisle. There's not another soul near by. She pats his red hair (he is used to it) and answers. "Oh yes! I do! That is a very important question. I do believe in Jesus."
But Jeremiah isn't done. "Jesus came to earth and that's Christmas," he reports.
"Yes, it is," our new friend agrees. "Have a very merry Christmas, sweet boy" and she pats his red head again and walks away.
Jeremiah returns season's greetings and says, "Merry Christmas!"
I walk around the cart, bend down, pick up the oil, and put it back on the lowest shelf not really sure what to say to my son. Before I can even process what just happened...did something just happen?...Jermeiah eagerly encourages me, "Com'n Momma! Let's go tell everyone about Jesus!" I smiled and even laughed. Where does he get this from? (I know there will be blog comments to answer that question!:)
As we stroll through the store, I have no idea what is left on The List or even what I did with it, so I ask him, "Jeremiah, what would you have done if the lady would have said, 'No, I don't believe in Jesus'?"
"Simple, Mom," again not even sounding even like a 5 year old, "I would have just invited her to come to my church with me."
And, I pondered these things in my heart.
Remembering my recent lectures, page 644 of my textbook describes how oil is an emblem of the Holy Spirit. The popular Shephard's Prayer reminds us that "he anoints our heads with oil." Even, Jesus. Luke 4:18 shares that Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel too the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." That is why we have Christmas. I, more than anyone, need to remember that this holiday season.
Let me be honest friends. Had the answer really been, "No," I hope that I would have known what to say. I pray that I would have had the courage to share. I trust that in the future, I will be Jeremiah's example instead of him being mine.
I leave you with this.
The Holy Spirit DOES empower us for witnessing, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). And today, I think that even included Wal-Mart.
And, the Holy Spirit WILL FILL our mouths with appropriate things, "But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that house, that speak ye: for IT IS NOT YE that speak, but the Holy Ghost" (Mark 13:11).
See, I have spent all week making sure that I get "the lessons" done. But maybe not the right ones. It isn't just important to hear The Word, but do it. Take "the oil" off the shelf! It is right there. Use it. The biggest resource we have is in the humblest place to make it the most accessible.
Remember, God approached you along time ago, in a manger with Christ!
Merry Christmas from Wal-Mart, in the aisle with the Crisco!