The preacher asked all the kids to sit by me on the front row one Sunday morning at church. One little boy, who was having  a difficult time sitting still and being quiet, sat right beside me. He wanted to talk to me but I was trying to turn his direction toward the preacher (after all that’s what you’re supposed to do in church). He finally calmed down and focused on what the preacher was saying.

The preacher mentioned the name “Timothy” in his sermon, and that seemed to activate the little boys “talk” button again. He leaned over to me and said (in a much louder voice than a whisper) “I have a friend at school…” but I interrupted, index finger pressed firmly against my lips, and said, “Shhh… pay attention to the preacher.” But, he kept going, “He was different from the other kids at school. He got sick….” Again, I interrupted his story with, “Tell me about this after church… you need to listen to the preacher right now.” (I was getting a little perturbed). But, he was relentless and continued, “He DIED last week. Every time the preacher says “Timothy” it makes me sad… ’cause that was his name.” My heart sank as I realized that I was trying to “shush” something that really needed to be “let out.”

All of the sudden the sermon didn’t matter anymore… church “protocol” didn’t matter anymore… an inconvenient disturbance didn’t matter anymore. All that mattered was the heart of a little boy who missed his friend from school. A little boy who was looking to a grown man for some compassion. I quickly repented of my earlier cold response to him and then laid my hand upon his hand and looked into his eyes, and whispered “I’m so sorry, buddy.” Holding on to his hand, I prayed for him under my breath as the preacher continued with his sermon. I realized that what had just transpired with the little boy was just as important than the words coming from the pulpit. God spoke to me through that little boy about showing compassion even when it’s seemingly “out-of-place” and inconvenient.

One day I may forget the words spoken by the preacher that Sunday morning, but I’ll never forget the sermon God spoke to me through the little boy on the front row of that church.

My Prayer for Today: “Lord, help me open my eyes to the needs of others around me and to always be prepared to help and serve… even when it’s seemingly inconvenient and out-of-place. Amen.”


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