When I was 11, my best friend was a girl named Sarah. She was full of energy, adventurous, and loved Jesus more than just about anyone I had ever met. Although I attended church here and there with my own family, the zeal for Christ that Sarah and her family had was new to me, and I was a bit smitten with the way they lived their lives.
I can remember play dates that included listening to Adventures in Odyssey while we played games and ate snacks. Almost every memory I have of time spent with Sarah includes something related to her family’s strong faith in Christ, but one in particular stands out.
One Saturday I went to Sarah’s house for a play date as I often did, and we became a bit bored, as adolescents often do. Sarah wanted to roller skate in the cul-de-sac where she lived, but I had no skates. Her mom happened to have a brand new pair, still in the box, in her closet. She offered to let me wear them, as they were my size, and I happily accepted the offer. They were beautiful. Bright white with hot pink laces and wheels – exactly what I would have chosen to buy for myself, I thought.
Sarah and I skated up and down her street for hours, shrieking with squeals of laughter as we rolled over the bumps in the sidewalk and tried not to fall. My borrowed skates that once had smooth, unblemished wheels now showed the marks of use, though her mother did not seem to mind when we arrived back at the house. I slipped the skates off and placed them carefully back in the box. I thanked her mom again for allowing me to borrow them. We continued to enjoy our time together, and when it was time for me to go, her mother handed me the box and said “Why don’t you take these home with you.”
My eyes grew wide with disbelief and I shook my head no.
I told her that she didn’t need to give them to me, they were hers – and they were brand new! She smiled warmly, and said words that still touch me to this day.
“Jesus told me to give these to you.”
How do you argue with those words? I smiled and thanked her repeatedly, and I took the skates home. That day was about more than a generous gift. I have never doubted that Jesus told her to give me those skates, because He knew that the gift was greater than what the box held.
That day I learned that God loved me enough to speak to others about me – that I was worthy of His time. I learned that we can hear His voice if we draw near enough to Him. I also learned that others are blessed through our obedience. In a moment, these beautiful gifts were given, along with a pair of white skates with hot pink laces.
Hebrews 6:10 says “God is not unjust: He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” In my own life, this memory of the kindness of a friend’s mother encourages me to not only draw close to Him so that I can hear His voice, but also to be aware of ways that I can be a blessing to those that cross my path or enter my home.
As a mother, I have the distinct privilege of mothering not just my own children, but the others that come through my door, even if only for a little while. When my children are old enough to host friends for play dates, how can I show Jesus’ love to those little ones that aren’t my own? My influence reaches farther than I can comprehend, and I need to steward that gift well so that when others leave my home they feel nourished, loved, and like they were in the presence of someone that loves Jesus. Not just in words, but in the way I live.
I kept those skates for years after that day, and every time I took them from the box I remembered the real gifts that came with them.
[Tweet “May we all find a way to give others the gift of knowing their worth in Christ. “]
How can you steward the gift of your influence in the lives of your children’s friends?