What If We Were “No” People?

What if we were “no” people? A simple, albeit confusing, question from my oldest son Jacob has stayed with me for several days now. Not necessarily the question, but his own response and the glory sighting that came through the conversation.

Last Sunday evening we were watching TV on the couch, trying to relax and get ready for an-other long week of school and football/cheer practice for the kids; another week of work and travels for me. I don’t remember the show we were watching but since we’re between TV seasons I can only imagine it was something I’ve seen a half dozen times already. Suddenly, Jacob looks at me and asks, “Daddy, what would we do if we were ‘no’ people?” Anyone who has kids knows that questions almost always require some amount of clarification to figure out exactly what they are asking and so I did just that. Without missing a beat, Jacob clarified, “You know, what if we had no house, no food, no car?” Another key fact you learn with children is that question frequently come from out of the blue and are so abstract that most answers begin with, “Well, I don’t know. I guess…”

In the seconds that transpired between Jacob’s clarifying question and my biding time with a stuttered response, my brain quickly began to run through very adult questions:

Where would I go to find work? How much savings do we have in the bank? How much do I have in my retirement fund that I could draw from? How long could we keep the house, utilities, etc. up?

Now, the last truism of parenthood Q&A sessions is that children often generate their own response and answer their own questions, especially when they don’t like or can’t wait for your answer. Before I could answer my own adult questions and boil them down into something I thought a seven year old would understand, Jacob answered his own question by saying, “Well…I guess we’d just go to church and they would help us out…give us food, and clothes, and stuff.”

Like most of us, I generally listen and try to absorb what’s going on around me but it’s often later that I understand what was said as I reflect upon the passing events. When Jacob first answered his own question by saying that we could go to church for help and assistance, I was certainly listening to him and I was most-definitely proud that he knew that church is a place that helps the less fortunate. But, over the past several days, this exchange between he and I has taken on a much deeper meaning.

I have come to realize that this is truly a glory sighting, probably one of the most real and clear sightings of Christ’s glory and grace in my entire life. In an instant, Jacob again confirmed for me that what we are doing at Perry Memorial IS THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST. Through our ministries and love, we are helping the “no’s” in this community and in this world. We are feeding those who are hungry, we are providing for those who have little or nothing, and we are loving those around us the way Jesus Christ would. Meanwhile, we are instilling in our children this love, compassion, and knowledge that it is the church that will save the “no’s” among us. I wish I knew such a thing when I was merely seven years old! What a bright and glorious future our church (Perry Memorial and beyond) has in front of it when the youngest among us knows how Jesus Christ’s love SOUNDS, LOOKS, and ACTS! As a father, nothing in this world could make me prouder, and you as a member of Perry Memorial should be equally as proud of the work we’re doing and the greatness that remains to be done by us and generations to come.

Rob Williams