Do You Remember Me?

“Do you remember me, Mr. Key?” is the question I heard as I was working with a mission team in a parish of the island of Jamaica pretty far removed from where I had lived. Stepping into the office of the local high school I had unexpectedly heard this question from a young lady perched behind a computer. Racking my brain for a split second I came up completely blank with a name. Miss Robinson, the school counselor, began to tell me where she had seen me last – eight years before at a Vacation Bible School in a rural hillside town hours from this spot.

As a missionary hosting teams I enjoyed arranging projects working with local churches, orphanages and schools in the community. There was one thing, though, that I totally dreaded – Vacation Bible School. I just do not enjoy the VBS experience. I do not sing, crafts irritate me and preadolescent energy in huge amounts in one place pushes my “annoy me” button big time. The worst of the worst VBSs happened in Zion Hill at the Baptist church. As we worked planning the Bible School the church elders figured we may have 75 children; little did they know!

Driving up the narrow road on a hot July morning for the first day of VBS found us passing streams of kids dressed in colorful clothes heading up hill. Weaving through the human tide on the dusty drive toward the church brought conflicting emotions, excitement because of the incredible turnout and abject fear because of the incredible turnout. A surge of excited kids surrounded us as we piled out of the van to meet the church ladies we were coming to assist.  Herding all of the kids into the church found a packed house of close to 250 wiggling squirming bodies jostling to get view of the activities. I spent most of the week as the VBS bouncer asking the standard question “Do you want to be here? Then act like it!” Full contact organized chaos! I could not wait to get out of there every day working as hard as I could to find emergencies that would unexpectedly call me away. What a time for every other thing to actually be running smoothly. God has a cruel sense of humor!

On the last day I was drafted to give the salvation message. Trying to be creative we decided I would drive my motorcycle into the church to the front where I would declare “I am lost” and then have a dialog on how to find the way to Jesus. I was positive that the incredible story of Jesus was failing to penetrate through the cacophony of children’s screams, giggles and laughter or the incredulous stone-faced stares of the Jamaican women whose church I seemed to have just desecrated. I slogged through hoping to finish quickly enough to get home ahead of any mob that might be formed to respectfully request my departure from the island.

“Do you remember when you drove your motorcycle into church? I accepted Jesus that day.” I was stunned because that day is burned in my brain as a disaster.  Miss Robinson went on to say that because of the church she was able to go to school, then college and was now a guidance counselor. Her goal – to share the way to Jesus with the 1200 students continually coming under her influence. I was simultaneously amazed at God’s working and ashamed at myself. What would have happened if I had put more effort in the Zion Hill VBS? Did I miss an opportunity for even greater things for God because I was too absorbed in my own feelings?

Unique and ideal opportunities to share the story of Jesus present themselves all of the time. How often do we miss them because we are focused on something that is more about us? Christmas is the perfect time to share Christ’s story. The love story of a God who humbled Himself in an unthinkable way to save man. The story of staunch faith by human parents in the face of enemy occupation, hometown scandal, traveling hardship, and a humble birth among animals. The amazing story of a Father’s gift of a son named Emmanuel – God with Us. What have you made the focus of Christmas? How will you influence people who may observe you this season? I hope you each have the unexpected joy of someone stopping you in the future and saying, “Do you remember me… I accepted Jesus that day!”

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This daily devotion is written by John Key

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