Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:3740
Can a five-year old child love his neighbor and make a difference? Yes. An eternal difference can be made by a childs love for Christ and his love for his neighbor. Our son, Caleb, was only five when he made friends with the elderly lady who lived across the street from us. We had recently moved into the neighborhood and noticed that this lady was particularly shy and did not exude any desire to visit with neighbors. Her life consisted of tending to the hundreds of roses in her yard.
She did not have the joy of having any grandchildren. Sadly, she did not have the joy of knowing Jesus either. She made it clear when we introduced ourselves and she found out that I was a pastor, that she was not interested in religion. Since my grandmother lived too far away to see very often, I asked our new neighbor if she would mind if Caleb could treat her like he would his own great-grandmother by occasionally bringing over a dessert for her. The elderly lady warily agreed.
Every Monday a mens prayer group met at our home, and Caleb helped me prepare the desserts. I prepared the pies for the men, and Caleb prepared a single-serving sized pie for our neighbor, whom he now called Grandma Angie. Each week Caleb would deliver to Grandma Angie a warm pie prepared by his chubby little hands. With each pie, Grandma Angie became more and more friendly. As the weeks and months continued on, Calebs love and friendship softened Grandma Angies heart. He became to her the grandchild she never had, and she became for him as his own great-grandma. Along with praying for his other grandparents, Calebs love for Grandma Angie extended into his nightly prayers as he prayed for Jesus to touch her heart.
After a year and a half, the day came for Grandma Angies eighty-second birthday. Caleb, carrying her birthday cake, led our family to her door to deliver the surprise treat. When she came to the door, we sang Happy Birthday to Grandma Angie. In the course of that birthday conversation, Grandma Angie talked about how the love she had experienced from Caleb was different than any she had known before. The opportunity to share gospel was opened as she expressed a desire to know Christ. Caleb held her frail hand as our family prayed with her. On her eighty-second birthday, Grandma Angie was born again as a child of God because one little boy loved his neighbor as his own great-grandmother. Transforming Hearts Transforming Lives!
Dear Jesus, may we be faithful to persistently pursue relationships with those who appear to be reclusive so your love can draw them to you. May we also be faithful to help our children demonstrate your love to a hurting and lonely world of people. May those who are guarded toward adults be reached through the genuine and innocent love from your little children.
-Rev. Judy Weeks, Pastor, Northside Church of God, Jacksonville, Florida