He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. (Psalms 37:26 ESV)
One of our greatest pleasures at church involved the entire family. On several occasions we participated in or directed and worked in children’s musicals. Ellice and Joel were the first participants followed by the rest of the family. Beth directed several productions while I had the joy of participating as Psalty the Sailor and Patch the Pirate.
These were great times of working together and presenting the Gospel message in a format understood by all the island residents. Each performance would fill our church and provide opportunities to share and demonstrate the message of God’s salvation. Many of the children found this a time for discovering God’s message as they participated.
As Patch I presented a unique character to the children and a source of humor for observant adults. Between acts I would move the patch from one eye to the other before I returned to the platform. Some noticed and tried hard not to snicker during the program. To children Pirates are ominous folks shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Patch was a little less dangerous but children’s imaginations would still go wild.
One day, a few weeks after one of the Patch the Pirate programs, Beth and I were walking through the new island mall. A young girl who apparently attended the church program was also walking through the mall. Later, her mother told us, “My daughter saw you walking in the mall. She pointed your direction and said, ‘There’s that pirate.’ Then she made us walk on the other side of the mall.” Eventually I met the young lady and she discovered I was not quite the evil pirate she envisioned.
Children in the neighborhood would hear tales of the pirate who lived in the house in the middle of the street. They would peek through the fence when they thought no one was looking. If I was out in the yard they would across over and walk on the other side to keep from being shanghaied and hauled off as slave labor. They got over it.
These programs, the music, the participants, the island people’s love for music and children provided numerous opportunities for talking and sharing the word of salvation with others. Our children were instrumental in our involvement.
Children are a wonderful lot. They can entertain, amaze and aggravate all in a matter of minutes. Their imaginations run wild and their enthusiasm is inexhaustible. Young hearts are looking for truth and the Gospel speaks directly to their need. We need to be careful and use every opportunity to share God’s love with these little ones. Sometimes it may take the attention of a pirate. At other times it only just takes a quiet conversation.