When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
I went just a little too far. When you are an overactive six-year-old, church can be quite difficult. My pastor was one of my favorite people but when you’re an overactive six-year-old, preaching can be, well, a little boring. I’ve always loved church music but when you’re an overactive six-year-old, well, the best singers just aren’t enough. Mama tried to keep me busy. Her favorite tool was to give me the bulletin and a pen or pencil and I would color in all the little circles. You would be amazed how many different little circles there were each week. Well, that would work for a while, but you know, when you are an overactive six-year-old, nothing is going to work for long.
Well, one particular Sunday, the circle thing didn’t even make it past the song service. By the time they were passing the plates I was out of things to do. The service was always very predictable. There would be an opening song, the announcements, a couple of more songs, then the offering, a special music thing, and then the preaching. After the pastor finished, we would have one more song and call it a day. Of course, there were always a couple of prayers thrown in for good measure. So, I knew it was just about time for the preacher to start preaching when I heard Mrs. Rosalyn Crabtree start singing.
Now let me tell you right now, Mrs. Crabtree could flat sing. I don’t know if she had voice lessons or not, but she sounded like one of those opera singers. When there was a solo in the choir it was usually Mrs. Crabtree who sang, and more often than not, she sang right before the preacher. She and her husband Jake were two of my favorite people too. They taught me in the youth department when I got older and we even had Rosalyn sing at our wedding when my wife and I were married. They were great folks.
But this Sunday, well, it was just destiny that I was going to get in trouble. I was bored by the time the offering was done, so I started poking Mama in the side. She had her girdle on and it always amazed me just how tight that thing was. Well, she finally had enough of the poking and said so in a way that I knew if I continued, it wasn’t going to be pretty. But then Mrs. Crabtree started to sing. Well, while she was singing, I decided to cover my ears with my hands. Why? Well, I guess that is what overactive-six-year-olds do. Well, when I took my hands down there was obviously a big sound difference. So, I put them back up and then took them down. I had discovered a new game.
I found out if I did this fast it made a “wa-wa” sound in my ears. The faster my hands covered and uncovered my ears, the faster the “wa-wa.” I thought this was pretty grand entertainment. Mama didn’t think so. I stopped for a minute but decided it was worth the risk. It wasn’t. Before I knew it, she and I were heading out the door. I had crossed the line and me and Mama had a little “come to Jesus” meeting. And do you know what? That urge to put my hands over my ears strangely disappeared and has never returned. I guess you could say that Mama discovered a vaccine for that like the one for the COVID virus and it was highly effective. Very.highly.effective.
I am glad that I had a Mama who knew how and when to administer a little discipline…even if it meant taking me out smack dab in the middle of church. And I am glad that we had a church where no one smirked, and no one said I shouldn’t be there. We had a church where families and kids were more than welcome and I have tried to make sure that at the churches I pastor, the same is true today. Rich or poor, black, white, or brown, young, or old—everybody is welcome. I know that is the way it ought to be because that is the way that Jesus did it. I figure if that was the way He did it—we should do it too.
One time when Jesus was teaching, He looked at the people and had compassion on them because He saw them like a flock of sheep needing a shepherd. Compassion—love in action. Compassion—love that says come on in, you are welcome here. I like that. You see, God is an inclusive God. He even invites overactive six-year-olds like me and you into His presence. And He’s always ready to help, always ready to love and always ready to say, “Don’t worry…I’ve got this.” Bro. Dewayne