On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher,"
he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the
Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: "`Love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with
all your mind'; and, `Love your neighbor as yourself.'" "You have answered
correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." But he wanted to
justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:25-29).
Children have a remarkable way of making friends. If they
have recently moved into a neighborhood, they may almost immediately begin watching for
other children playing outside and begin to make their way over to the other kids and
start talking to and playing with them. Sometimes, the family does not even get the moving
van unloaded before some of the neighbor children spot the new kids, and come over to get
acquainted. It does not take long before friendships are developed--some of which could
even last a life time.
But something happens to most of us as we "grow up"; we move into new
neighborhoods, workplaces or even churches, and we make acquaintances--but seldom do we
build friendships as once we did. Being the "new kid" was never very exciting,
but more so as adults. We are not nearly as brave as we once were, and we only venture
outside of our safe zones as far as we have to. And each day we return to the safety and
seclusion of our private lives and call it a day.
Perhaps we might remember that we are children still, as we are the children of God. And
with that we might do well to take a lesson from the children who are going out and making
friends. For as the friendships of the children develop, they soon get to know the
neighbor kids and soon after, the neighbor kids' parents. It is not long before they have
been in many of the houses on the streets, eaten a meal with many of the families and
spent the night with some. All in the course of developing friendships.
As adults, we sometimes grow weary of the incessant knocks at the door by neighbor kids,
or those same children using our door like it is a revolving door--in and out, in and out.
But to them it is part of their adventure--getting to know kids and the parents of kids--
running from house to house. And to us it should be an illustration of the Great
Sure, we probably don't picture our children standing up in front of the TV at the
neighbor's house and preaching the Kingdom of God, but we do see them going to the houses.
And no they are probably not actively making disciples--yet. But they are making friends
and laying the foundation for God's future possibilities. And should their parents be
godly and true and faithful followers of Jesus, the kids might then carry that light they
see in mom and dad to the entire neighborhood. Then mom and dad can be singing "This
Little Light of Mine" with a whole new perspective.
As parents, we are the caretakers of adventurers, for our children boldly go into the
world regularly. As an influence on our children, we are often reflected in them. The
light of God that is in us should be reflected in them as well. And as they go they are
our little lights who will quite possibly draw the attention of others to God. But let's
not see that as an end, but as a means. For what the children may very well do is open the
door for the parents. For we are all lights, and we are all "this little light
of" God's, and we are all to be a reflection of our Heavenly Father. And as we go,
people will know who we belong to and what household we live within.
Our children are getting into the households of our neighborhoods. They may very well be
the means God uses to prepare a way for us to minister to other families. We are children,
and making friends is just another part of moving into the neighborhood. Some friendships
will last a lifetime--and some will last forever as God uses us to bring a little light
into the lives of our neighbors.