Today is my birthday. I'm one year closer to heaven. Today also marks the beginning of my fiftieth year of knowing the Lord. That's the birthday I really find amazing. It seems like such a short time ago when, at the age of eleven, I asked Jesus to be my Saviour and the Lord of my life.
It happened one Friday night at a children's program and the first thing I did when I got home that evening was to tell my mother and father what I had done. As I was reading in Mark this morning the idea of telling those closest to you about your spiritual decisions impacted me once again. The story is about a demon-possessed man. When Jesus cast out the demon and the man was once more clothed and in his right mind, all he wanted to do was to follow the Lord wherever Jesus was planning on going. Most leaders would love to have a few more followers in their entourage but in this case the Lord told the man: "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you" —Mark 5:19, NIV. And so it was.
Family is sometimes a "hard sell" because no one knows your wrinkles better than those closest to you. On the other hand, sharing your faith with family, new-found or not, is a logical step. My parents didn't say much when I told them that I had accepted Christ—they never were very demonstrative. But those few words did have an impact. A short time later I went forward in church when the pastor gave the invitation at the end of his sermon. He had encouraged me that Friday night to testify to my new faith in front of the congregation and to express my desire to be baptized by this public declaration. As I stood at the front of the church I sensed someone beside me. I turned my head slightly to see who was there. To my eternal surprise, there stood my mother. As usual, she hadn't said a word to me about what had been going on in her own life—it wasn't her way. She'd been a believer for many years but had never publically declared that through baptism. My decision proved to be a catalyst for hers.
Over these fifty years of celebrating Jesus I've had many opportunities to share him with others. But no reaction to my words has been as special as that demonstrated by my mother so many years ago. When the now not-demon-possessed man returned home to tell his family and friends what the Lord had done for him, the Scriptures say that: "all the people were amazed" —Mark 5:20, NIV. I can't help but believe that this amazement produced much spiritual fruit for the Kingdom.
If charity begins at home so does telling how much the Lord had done for us, and how he has shown us his mercy. You just never know how the Lord will use even the words of a child.