Tuesday, February 2, 2016

When Children Smile

I recently had a visit from a friend, and as we caught up, she told me about something that happened at work. And let me pause for a moment to preface that this isn’t exactly a dramatic story, but perhaps, remarkable.

For much of our high school years, she could never claim to be very good with children. In fact, when we were seniors, we worked as teacher’s aids during our last two periods. I went to an elementary school – she opted for Junior High. But recently, she began working at a children’s store, and much to her surprise, the children love her.

In her work, however, she’s started taking a different approach. While the parents are technically the patrons of the store, their children are worth noticing. She’d found that when she takes time to notice and talk to the children, it makes the parents smile.

I started thinking that over – something so simple and sweet.

I’ve been a bit fixated on where good works fit into the Christian life recently – what kind of importance and weight do they hold?

I want to point out a passage from Matthew 25 to you. Because – oh my word – her work story melted my heart is the best sort of way. 
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
I suppose that in many ways, the proof is in the pudding: if you truly are in relationship with God, it ought to be evidenced in your life. And if you love the Father, do you let that love overflow to the people around you? When we are kind to God’s children – the people he created – that makes him smile. It’s no different from those families in the store.

That’s why we do good works. It’s not about winning brownie points. It’s not about salvation. And it’s certainly not about our own vanity. It’s all about the Father, because this is what brings him joy. Since God so loved us, what better way to love him back than to make his children smile?

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