Back-story: I walked into church wearing the usual slacks and nice shirt. Black and grey color scheme. Bright, sparkly, green flip-flops.
The Tale of the Sparkly Green Flip-FlopsYou know, it's a funny thing, what happens when I wear my sparkly green flip-flops. Everyone looks at my feet. Everyone. Some people look at my feet and you just know, by the look they give me after they finish gawking at what I have chosen as my shoes-of-the-day, they wonder why I am wearing them. Some people are so curious that they actually ask me. It doesn't matter if it is St. Patrick's Day or not. I guess because they make a bold statement. They are rarely practical or rational. Especially today, when I wore them in the cold, they were not practical or rational. (At this point, a young boy chose to point out to me that flip-flops are for the summer. Thank you, beautiful child, for helping me point out the irrationality of these shoes and why people might question my wearing them.)
There are actions we do in life that show we are Christians. (Now, those that are subtle serve a purpose, loving others and following in ways that are less noticeable are severely important so that we do not seem like the Pharisees.) Some actions we choose, and I use the word choose because these often require a big decision, are big, bold, noticeable actions. The actions that make people wonder why we do something, even sometimes to the point that people might ask why we do them, these actions are tools that we can use to bring about opportunities to share the gospel. Tell people why we do these things. Because Jesus. That's why. These actions often seem as if they are not practical or rational. Moving across the world to a country dangerous for Christians. Loving someone who has wronged us. Showing grace and mercy.
One of my most constant prayers these days is, "Use me, God. I have hands that want to serve you. Please, use me." Sometimes, I feel like God replies with, "Well, I'm trying, but you have to recognize the opportunities I'm throwing at you." Sometimes, my actions aren't big enough. God could have used me more in the moment, but I didn't allow it. I have to be willing, actually having those serving hands I tell God about, to take the bold action that is needed sometimes. I don't need to wait around. I need to do it.
These things don't have an age when they begin to be practical. People say that children are the "future of the church." Yea, well, people say that college students are the "future of the world" and such. When I hear that, I usually pat my face, and even the face of the person next to me if I know them well enough. Then I think something along the lines of, "Future? I feel like I'm here now; I'm present!" Children are not only the future of the church. I see the children looking up at me during a children's message, sitting on the step of the altar, and they sure look like they are in the church at the present moment. Think of David. Small but mighty with God on his side, David was able to conquer Goliath. Children are each a David. It's remarkable, really. Every month, at the end of my children's message, I ask the children to repeat after me while we pray. Every month, they repeat after me. It's pretty cool. So, if I, human, ask these kids to repeat after me, and they do it, I think they know at least a little bit about obedience. If God, then, asks them, as he asks all of us, to step out in faith, these small but mighty children have that power. They have the power to step out in faith right now.
Imagine, if kids were doing things, loving those who have wronged them, inviting friends to church, talking about Sunday School lessons with their friends at school. Imagine how one David could become even one more David, spending that many more years in love with Jesus, coming to church, learning about God. Imagine that over and over again. These kids can start with bold actions now, and grow into actions even bigger, more irrational, more able to bring about a conversation about God.
God says to step out in faith. And I say, do it in your cool shoes. The ones that will be seen and give you an opportunity to share what you know about God and how you know his love.
|When I wore them in the cold, they were not practical or rational,|
but they brought up opportunities to talk about why.