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Monday, April 27, 2009

Mama, is it free?

Arriving at the homeless shelter for Bible study, I was greeted with an invitation before even setting foot on the back porch.

"I’m being baptized next Sunday night. Will you come?" Jane* asked.

"How wonderful! I wouldn’t miss it for anything!" I replied.

Jane excitedly shared that she’d accepted Christ as her Savior during Sunday school the previous week at the shelter.

Mary*, another resident, then told the group that she was going to be baptized on the same night. Even though Mary had accepted Christ many years ago, she’d never been baptized.

Then 12-year-old Kristen* informed the group that she’d attended Bible School the previous summer and she’d learned all about Jesus. "And I want to be baptized too."

"Wow - what a night! This is so wonderful." I told the group. And it was. Everyone was excited. Everyone, I soon realized, except for Kristen’s mother.

"Mama, can I? Can I be baptized?"

"You don’t need to be baptized now," Mama responded.

A quiet fell over the group as the little girl’s face drooped with sadness.Kristen crossed her small arms, dropped her head and tried to hold back the tears that were welling up in her big blue eyes.

Even as my heart ached for Kristen, we began our lesson which interestingly enough was on the plan of salvation. We talked about how God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him could have eternal life. We talked about Jesus being the way, the truth and the life and the only way to the Father.

As we talked, the little girl continued to plead her case. "I know that. I learned that in Bible school. Mama, why can’t I be baptized?"

"Hush. We’ll talk about it some other time," Mama said.

Mama had attended Bible study every week since moving into the shelter. She clearly believed in God. But when we talked about the prodigal son returning home and his father not only forgiving him but welcoming him home with open arms, Mama’s head didn’t drop fast enough to conceal the fact that she couldn’t accept that forgiveness for herself.

"Mama, I need to do this. Please?" the little girl begged.

"I said ‘No’," came Mama’s reply.

Wanting to plead this little girl’s case, but knowing I couldn’t, we continued on and talked about the plan of salvation known as the Roman Road.

"There is no one righteous, not even one."

"For all have sinned and fall short

of the glory of God."

"For the wages of sin is death, but the
gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

"But God demonstrates his love for us in
While we were still sinners,

Christ died for us."

"That if you confess with your mouth,

‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

"Everyone who calls on the name

of the Lord will be saved."

A simple prayer confessing we are sinners, but that we believe Jesus died for our sins and we want to accept His gift of eternal life is all it takes, I told them. And then the child who had been told "no" so many times because the things she wanted in life cost too much asked, "Well, Mama is it free?"

Silence once again fell over the group that was gathered around the table. Even Mama didn’t have a quick answer to that question. The little girl’s eyes then turned to me. And the answer that sprang from my heart was, "Yes, baby girl, it is free. It is God’s gift to us and it is free to all."

Mama eyes turned to me and I gently held her gaze.

"Mama, why don’t the two of you talk about this later? When the pastor comes by to talk with the ladies who are being baptized, I know he’d be happy to talk with you as well," I said.

"Okay," Mama replied and Kristen’s face broke out in a smile.

The following Sunday evening the baptism of those three was a glorious affair to behold. And even though Mama didn’t attend, a radiant-faced little girl stood in the baptismal waters as she announced that she had accepted the one thing in life that is truly free to us all, the gift of Jesus Christ as her Savior.
* Names changed

Father, thank you for the gift of eternal life that is free to all who call on your name.

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Blogger Denise said...

Such a precious post.

April 27, 2009 at 1:10 AM  
Blogger Omah's Helping Hands said...

What a great emotional post! Such meaning. Went to the site you suggested. Added the site to my list of blogs to follow. Thanks for the link. Blessings to you Susan!

April 27, 2009 at 2:30 AM  
Blogger The Real Me! said...

I love that it is FREE!! Praise the Lord.
Our son is getting baptized next Sunday. We are so excited. He can't wait either.
Blessings to you.

April 27, 2009 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger Laury said...

So much in life is expensive. So to know that the most important thing we can ever do - the most important decision we will ever make - is free all because Jesus paid the cost - that is truly an amazing thought!

April 27, 2009 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Brought tears to my eyes. God bless you. And, yes, baby girl. It is free. Amen. Amen. Amen.

April 27, 2009 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

*Crocodile Tears* Oh my, that is precious! You have blessed my day so much by sharing this story. Thank you.

April 28, 2009 at 3:08 PM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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