Sitting next to the six year old boy on the wooden pew to the side of the church gymnasium, I smiled and asked, “When your teachers at school give you a time-out, do they come and talk with you about it?”
It had become a regular occurrence, not just at school, but also at church. He just seemed to find ways to land himself in the naughty chair, sneaky little dude that he is.
“Hmm. So they just let you sit by yourself until your timeout is over?”
“Yea.” His brown eyes stared elsewhere. Anywhere but at me.
“Come, look at me for a moment.”
He kept staring elsewhere.
I asked again.
Reluctantly, he complied.
“I am here to talk with you about it, because I care,” I said. Then, I turned my head to stare in a different direction in much the same way he had been doing just a moment ago, while I kept talking. “It is kinda hard to carry on a conversation when one of us is trying to ignore the other, isn’t it. I mean, it really is kinda silly, wouldn’t you agree?”
He smiled and giggled just a little. Then he nodded as I turned back to face him.
“I care about you, ______. You are special and God has an awesome plan for your life.”
He stared back at me doubtfully.
“Has anyone ever told you that before?”
“No,” he admitted.
“Well I am telling you that. And I am willing to share in your timeout to make sure you know that God loves you and thinks your special.”
He smiled just a little bit.
“Do you have a Bible at home, ______?”
“Well my brother has a little one.”
“Well that’s good, but do you have one just for you?”
He shook his head to confirm he did not.
I smiled and said, “Well we are going to have to do something about that. Now you go back with the other kids and we will talk again soon.”
I have the Bible which will soon be his right next to me, with an accompanying one for his brother as well. Prayerfully I ponder what words of encouragement I will write to them, not just for now, but also for the days to come as they grow up. I ask God to give me words to write which are prophetic and priestly, pastoral and fatherly, so that, as the years roll by and they have occasion to revisit the dedication pages of their respective gift Bibles, they will experience afresh the anointing of the Holy Spirit touching them at the point of their current need, and so that they will remember from whence they had come with a view toward God’s ordained future for them.