I REMEMBER … When I Was Seven

… and in Sunday School we used to sing ‘Jesus wants me for a sunbeam, to shine for Him each day, in every way try to please Him, at home, at school, at play … ’ ‘Jesus bids us shine with a clear, pure light, like a little candle burning in the night … ’, ‘God make my life a little light within this world to glow, a little candle burning bright wherever I may go … ’, ‘Shining for Jesus everywhere I go, shining for Jesus in this world below, shining for Jesus, more like Him I grow, shining all the time for Jesus … ’

            Do you remember these songs? They were lovely little songs, and we used to love to sing them. But I’m 77 now, and although ‘I’ve put away (a lot of) childish things’, these songs keep coming back to me to remind me how wonderful, how marvellous is a simple child-like faith – yes, as wonderful and marvellous as my Saviour’s love for me.

            I must confess that my witness hasn’t always been as bright as Jesus wants it to be, but I think one of the challenges which faces us as ageing saints is to look back at all the ways our Saviour has led us and be challenged anew to shine for Him.

            It has been said that this a mad world, and we must tell it that it is mad. Yes, but in telling it that it is mad we must tell it of Jesus who can drive that madness away just as He drove those pigs over the Gadarene  cliff. Similarly, this is a dark world and we must tell it that it is dark, but we must tell it that there is One who is the Light of the World and who can drive that darkness away – and we must live our lives in such a way that we reflect that Light into even the darkest places to drive that darkness away.

            By the way, don’t ever say to a young person, ‘You’re only a kid!’ It was ‘only a kid’ who took five smooth round stones and with the first one of them slew the giant Goliath. It was ‘only a kid’ who gave the five loaves and two fish to Jesus. It was the prophet Isaiah who wrote: ‘and a little child shall lead them’. It was ‘only a kid’ who Jesus took up (and I like it think He put him on His knee) and said, ‘Except you become like little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.’ Jesus Himself was ‘only a kid’ when He was found in the Temple teaching the greatest teachers of His day. Charles Haddon Spurgeon was ‘only a kid’ six years old when he chided an old man in the Kelvedon Pub for drinking so much and breaking his (Spurgeon’s) grandfather’s heart.

            And don’t be ashamed to be accused of having a child-like heart yourself. Children rightly taught have a thirst for learning. Children greatly loved have a trusting heart. Children carefully encouraged can do great things. Small wonder our Lord Himself commanded us to be like little children and shine for Him.

            Lord, give to me a child-like faith,     

            a faith that won’t grow dim,

            a faith that cares not what men say,

            but always looks to Him.

                                                                                                                                    – Bob Thomas