We recently headed to Texas over Christmas break to see J.O.’s sister and spend some time with family. It was a bit stressful to head out the day after Christmas, but I ended up being thrilled we went. It was fun to watch the kids together and we always enjoy catching up with his sister and brother in law.
On the way home, we stopped at Jason’s Deli to eat lunch. Now, you should know something about us when we travel. We don’t mess around. We are always trying to get home for something. This time, it was to pick up Henry, and our dogs. We left very early that morning and our attire and tired faces reflected that. We looked less than stellar. So our stop at lunch was interesting to say the least. We probably should’ve eaten somewhere like McDonalds, but Jason’s Deli is somewhere we all agree on. The kids ONLY eat there for the free ice cream, but that still makes it a favorite.
We headed into this small town Jason’s and everyone in there had church clothes on. I mean everyone. And they all knew each other and we stood out like a sore thumb. It didn’t bother me at all, I just noticed it immediately. And obviously so did others. Towards the end of our meal, an older lady came over and gave the kids $1 and told them Jesus loves them. Our girls didn’t miss a beat and got super excited for the money, and Addison immediately said back….”well, Jesus loves you too.”
After she left, it hit Addison. She said….”oh, is this because we look like we haven’t been to church.” It surprised me that she picked up on that, but I just said maybe and went on eating my meal. I started thinking about it later. No doubt, this is something she has been encouraged to do. How do I know this? Because if you grew up in the church at all, you have been told to do the same. I will never forget doing this as a part of my youth group challenge. I gave $1 to the Sonic carhop and told her “Jesus loved her.”
Can this be an effective evangelistic tool? Maybe. But, it certainly can’t be our main “go to”. In fact, in certain situations I would argue this causes more harm than good. Refraim it a bit….basically, I am going to give you money to show you Christ’s love. Sucks to be you, but I’ve got $5/$10 to spare and don’t think twice about giving it out. Now, obviously this is exaggerated. Small acts of kindness are awesome and can often go a long way. But, why do we feel the need to make ourselves feel better about telling of Christ’s love by attaching money to it.
This past week, Trey had someone join his friends group chat that started cursing them out. No doubt it was for the shock factor of a new kid trying to shake things up. He was quickly removed from the group and they all started trying to figure out who it was. I actually found out from another parent and told Trey. Trey told me he wasn’t going to tell the kids in the chat, because he didn’t want them mad at this boy or judging him. He indicated the kid had some problems at another school, but Trey had never heard him curse like this. He wanted to give him a chance and thought he was likely just showing out.
Now, Trey could’ve immediately gone back to the chat and ratted this kid out and it would’ve been justified. He was being very rude and the kids had a right to know. But he didn’t. I don’t know where this kid will be long term, but to me that goes a lot further than handing someone a dollar and walking off. Be kind in a restaurant, sure. Open doors, pay for a coffee, pull out a chair, give someone money when prompted, and by all means tell people Jesus loves them.
But, when Jesus becomes something we think we have to bribe others to hear about, we probably need to rethink our motives.