Everyone is busy. I am busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy. It is easy to use the “I’m so busy” card as an excuse. It was the same way in 1971. The country was at war and the sexual revolution and illegal drug use was in full gear. The wheels were coming off the world as we knew it. The economy, at least in our home, was terrible. I was a twelve-year-old boy with a tumultuous home life. Let’s just say my dad had some problems, was caught up in the culture and thereby not with me a whole lot.
A pre-teen or young teenage age child is very vulnerable. If they have no father at home they are even more vulnerable. There were a few loving men that made the time to be a surrogate dad/big brother to me. In spite of their busy lives, they created space for me. Space to love me in tangible ways. I can tell you these men made a huge difference. Even small gestures were life giving to me.
Mr. Jack Gaylord was my scoutmaster. He was funny, encouraging and he brought out the best in a boy. Mainly, he made time to be with me and the guys in our troop. He taught us how to pitch a tent, tie knots, cook on a fire, canoe, plan an overnight, train younger scouts, and how to see the good in people. Mr. Gaylord will never know how important he was in developing me as a man.
The Reverend Holt Souder was my parish priest. He was also a very fun man and made space in his busy life for me. I served under him as an acolyte at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Goochland County. The thing is what I did was not really the draw; Being an acolyte was not that riveting. It was the relationship with a healthy male role model person that was the draw. Parson Souder made time for me and treated me like a favored son. The amazing thing is we never did much outside of Sunday morning. Parson Souder did not have to take a lot of time off from work to be with me or take me on trips; he just loved me when we were serving together.
Are there kids God has put in your life that have a tough home situation? Tweenagers or teenagers that you just know could use some encouragement from a surrogate mom or dad? Perhaps the Holy Spirit is prompting you to reach out to a particular kid? Obviously you would have to be very wise to make sure that there is not even a hint of improper behavior or to be alone in a way that could give way to accusation. BUT, with that stated, I believe it is time to open our eyes and stop letting the devil, pedophiles and cults snap up all our vulnerable kids.
Where is the body of Christ? Where am I? Where are you? Are we pouring into any kids but our own? Maybe we could learn from Holt Souder and just love on kids intentionally in the settings where we normally spend time with them. Are you a Rec coach? Sunday School teacher? Schoolteacher, Youth group leader? Neighbor down the street? Other?
Why not change the life of a kid by showing him or her the pure love of Jesus Christ. The amazing thing is YOU will be just as blessed as the kid that you invest in.
Quigg Lawrence is the Senior Pastor at Church of the Holy Spirit located at 6011 Merriman Road in Roanoke. Visit them on the web at www.coths.org