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The Gospel Bear

Matthew came home from church the other night with a little multi-colored bear. He asked me if he could take it to school tomorrow (Thursday) to which, as usual with this request, I replied, "NO".

"But Dad, I really need to take it – Mrs. Barrett won’t mind!"

"No, Matt, you don’t need anything else to distract you at school – you can barely concentrate as it is."

Matt is 6 years old and in the 1st grade. He is my buddy. We get along wonderfully, except when that stubborness gets the best of him (and me). Matt isn’t a very spiritual kid. Madison, on the other hand has always been spiritual – asking questions about God and I had the priviledge of leading her to Jesus at the age of 6. As I stated above, Matt’s attention span is an issue both at school and at church but I believe he hears more than we can tell. I believe Matt loves Jesus – he tells me so often.

My desire is that my kids have a real relationship with God. I don’t want them to have a familiar relationship with God because their dad was/is a preacher. I want them to KNOW Him; to TALK with Him. I want Him to truly be their Savior and in turn that their hearts and lives will be His.

Keyna and I began this by trying to teach our kids to truly pray – not the rote prayers that children normally pray, but that they would learn to talk to God, the way that Jesus did…


Which brings me back to Matt. Last night Matt said, "Dad, Mrs. Stanton said I could bring my bear to school tomorrow so I could share it with my class." Thinking that we had settled this issue on Thursday morning I said, "Matt, I told you this morning we aren’t going to take that bear to school." to which he replied, "Dad, i’ve gotta take it so I can show it to Tristan!"

"Why would you need to show this bear to Tristan, Matthew. That bear isn’t even cool looking – you’ve got better stuffed animals; just drop it!"

"Daddy, I’ve gotta take that bear to tell Tristan about Jesus! He goes to church but he doesn’t like "being a Christian". He doesn’t even like to go to church! I told Mrs. Stanton that I need to bring my bear so I can tell Tristan how to be a Christian. She said after that I can show it to my class…" I looked, really for the first time, at the bear that he was talking about. It was multi-colored and each color told a different aspect about being a follower of Christ – Man, I felt low…

"Oh", I said, trying not to cry OR be so obviously proud at the same time. "Why didn’t you tell me that you wanted to tell Tristan about Jesus?"

"I did, Dad, you weren’t listening."

Last night, as we prayed, Matt asked Jesus to help Tristan to understand that he needs to be a Christian. I prayed over him that he would have understanding and boldness (not that he needs boldness – HE’S NOT YET UNDERSTOOD THAT THERE’S SOMETHING SCARY OR INTIMIDATING ABOUT TALKING TO PEOPLE ABOUT JESUS.) May we all be in tune like Matt.

"God, help me to help my kids really get it – that they would never be ashamed to share Jesus with someone who doesn’t know you. I pray that this Spirit would always dominate their lives as they learn (with me) how to be Wholly Yours. In Jesus’ Name…"

3 Comments on "The Gospel Bear"

  1. Sebrina says:

    How absolutely PRECIOUS! I know no fear at this age. It WOULD be awesome for that quality to stay in us all throughout adulthood. I pray that Matt’s little bear and MATT’S BIG HEART makes a huge impact on Tristan and many other kids at school. Fantastic post!

  2. Eddie D. says:

    AWESOME.Right on target.
    Matt is and so are you.
    Love you Brother.

  3. Becky says:

    Mike, you are a blessing to Hyde Park Baptist Church and you always do a great job filling in for Pastor Harrell. We don’t miss him quite as bad because we have you!

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