Can Toddlers Be Evangelists?
As a young mom living in northern Kentucky, I struggled on the days we couldn’t play outside due to weather conditions. In sheer desperation, my two small children, a double stroller and I headed to the mall, the only exercise-friendly venue that was warm and relatively germ-free as long as nobody swapped sippy cups along the way.
Not long into our winter outings, I realized that we were quite an attraction. The other mall walkers were…well… of a certain age, and the store clerks and salespeople seemed to enjoy the distraction of my giddy girls, barely old enough to talk.
As the holidays approached, and stories of Jesus’ love and arrival as a baby King filled our home, my heart longed for my children to experience more than just the onslaught of plastic toys coming their way on Christmas morning. I wanted them to see and know what Christ’s birth meant and how the shepherds couldn’t contain their joy.
They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. – Luke 2:16-17
The Lord suggested, “Let them share Him.”
With a three-year-old and an eighteen-month-old, I tried to imagine what “sharing Jesus” could possibly look like. He gently reminded me that being an evangelist doesn’t always require a tract or lengthy dialog. Sometimes it means being kind and giving words of encouragement that point someone to the Savior of the world.
I thought, “We can do this!”
For the next few days, tiny fingers pressed out the sugary dough and sprinkled green and red crystals on tree-shaped blobs. As we wrapped each cookie-filled cellophane bundle, my girls soaked in the power of God choosing the shepherds, considered the least of all the workers in ancient society, to spread the news of the arrival of His son, the Messiah.
Eager to do the same, we took our home-baked morsels to our familiar track of retail stores, and my little ones toddled and smiled as they handed out their less than perfect confectionery made with great love.
The note attached repeated what my girls tried to say in their early days of language.
“Jesus loves you, and so do we.”
No one fell to their knees in repentance in the middle the Gap store, at least not that I am aware, but two small girls practicing the art of servant evangelism caught people by surprise in the best way. It also developed a love in my daughters of sharing the Gospel that meant we took goodies to mall employees on EVERY holiday ~ minus perhaps Arbor Day ~ for years. Their young faces and small gestures planted seeds of hope in a hurting world, and the early discipline of moving outside their comfort zones grew deep roots. They have since traveled the world blessing others with His love.
No longer encumbered by strollers or living in a climate that demands indoor exercise from November to May, every Christmas morning after boxes and gift bags have been sufficiently plundered, we still travel out with a basket of sweet love for people who have to work on Christmas Day. Our local gas station attendants, hotel employees, and Waffle House servers get a treat from a family, now full of teenagers, who still want them know that “Jesus loves them, and so do we.”
Never believe that someone is too “least of these” to share Jesus. Just ask the shepherds and my girls.
All His love and mine,