For who dares make light of small beginnings...Zechariah 4:10
When our son Eli was just a small boy, “Bible Man” visited his Sunday School Class at church. When class was over, he bounced into the hallway grinning from ear to ear. What is he up to now? I thought.
Surprisingly, what I discovered, was not what he was up to, but rather, what he was holding in his hands. "Bible Man" had given each boy and girl a tiny New Testament. It was smaller than the palm of my hand. Inside, the print was so minuscule a magnifying glass was needed to read it.
My guess is that Eli disregarded the "one per person" rule, because he left there with as many as he could stuff into his pockets. He gave each member of the family one and still had plenty leftover.
That was the last I remembered of those mini-Testaments until...
Prayer journal entry, October 29, 2006:
Eli's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Davis, approached me after school today. She smiled and said, “Eli was preaching today. I heard him tell one of his friends that ‘Jesus loves you.’ He then proceeded to tell that same little boy, ‘Since you’ve decided to ask Jesus into your heart today, we’re now brothers.'"
I was speechless. So, what do I do when I have no words, I write. I went home and logged the details into my prayer journal. I never wanted to forget this small beginning.
A few months later another small beginning occurred.
When I picked Eli up from school today, Mrs. Davis said. “I’ve got a good one for you." She fought back tears as she relayed this story: "Eli had a cluster of classmates surrounding him today during free time. Naturally, I went to investigate. I looked inside the circle of little bodies, and I noticed that Eli was holding the tiniest Bible I had ever seen."
Then I remembered...
She continued to share that Eli had it opened up to the very center. He was showing the boys and girls a minuscule image of Jesus hanging on the cross, explaining how Jesus had died on the cross for them and that they could ask Him into their hearts right then and there. "Children were asking Jesus into their hearts right there in the middle of the classroom."
I was overcome with joy, but, I was also in shock.
Let me explain.
The disciplinary chart hanging in Eli's kindergarten classroom is a good place to begin.
It was called the "bee system", you know, bee-have or bee-in trouble. It was put into place to help students, or little bees, learn how to follow the rules. At the beginning of every day, students began on the honey pot. Throughout the day, they were given 5 chances to keep their little bee on, or as close to, the honey pot as possible. But, if someone mis-bee-haved, they had to move their bee to the next level, away from the honey pot.
Well, let me just say, Eli's bee did plenty of buzzing around during class time and ended up in the no fly zone most days.
But, in between all of the mis-bee-having, Eli had managed to carve out time to share the sweet story of Jesus with his classmates... hence, my glorious shock.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
Here was my precious little boy, the one who doesn't like to sit still sometimes, or wait his turn, and more often than not, forgets to raise his hand before he talks, sharing Jesus with other children; practically, relevantly, and in a hands-on fashion. If a 5-year old can share the good news of the cross with other 5-year olds in a way they can understand...
Never make light of small beginnings.
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith... 1 Timothy 4:12
These small beginnings ended big!
The following summer, the little boy in the story above, whom Eli referred to as his “new brother,” came over to play. This was his first visit to our home. When his mother returned that afternoon to pick him up, she shared how her son had been attending VBS that week and was asking to be baptized. She said, “I was explaining to him how baptism is something you do after you ask Jesus into your heart.” Her next words were riveting: “He told me, ‘But, Mom, I’ve already asked Jesus into my heart. One day at school, Eli told me how.’”
This little boy had made a true confession of faith that day in kindergarten. Now, several months later, he was following up on his decision by wanting to get baptized. Wow!
Looking back, I realize the enormity of Eli's excitement over receiving those miniature Bible's that day.
His tiny fingers thumbed through those tinier pages until he had found the small image of Christ on the cross.
But, these small beginnings also set into motion the beginning of something dark and sinister.
The truth is, that day in kindergarten when our little boy opened up that tiny Bible for his classmates, the hounds of hell were indignant. After all, they had just been reminded of their eternal demise by a five-year-old (Colossians 2:15).
The door of salvation was revealed that day (John 10:7–10), and the doors of hell swung open, releasing its minions.
The Words may have been too small for little eyes to read, but the portrayal of Christ Jesus hanging on the cross was clear for all to see.
Such boldness and faith at the age of five shouts triumph and victory over the enemy of our souls...and he does not like it.
Eli was now in a vulnerable position. He was nothing short of a child evangelist.
We know the enemy is extremely threatened anytime we proclaim the good news of the gospel, but imagine how indignant he must become, when a child shares Christ with other children! Eli had become a threat to the enemy, who now would pull out all the stops to keep him from continuing to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
This is where our story of RELEASED began.
To be continued...