A story from Pastor Randy Lovejoy:
My youngest son started first grade in the elementary school a short jog from the church where I serve as pastor. I was excited about this opportunity to build relationships with parents and children who, like our community, are mostly non-religious. My prayer was to share the gospel in some way with all of the kids on the campus over that time. The answer came much sooner than I expected; in the form of an e-mail just before Thanksgiving asking for parents to come in to share about their jobs on Career Day.
I offered to come in. Unexpectedly, my offer was accepted, and I had the opportunity to share my career with three classes of first graders. Now what? How would I explain what I do in some concrete way in 15 minutes? I decided to focus on the upcoming Christmas season. Then I added something to make it fun. I would tell the kids that as I walked over to school I forgot what my career was. Then I would ask them, “Would you be able to help me figure out what I do?”
They eagerly agreed. I gave them the first clue. My job had something to do with a celebration coming up soon. I knew they would come up with Thanksgiving first, since it was only a week away. That led us to consider other celebrations. Eventually a child came up with Christmas. Then I asked them what people do at Christmas. After talking about Christmas trees, decorations, and lights I asked them why people do these things.
And then I “remembered” a second clue. I pulled out a box and unwrapped a little angel, then a couple of animals, then three kings, then Mary and Joseph. Then I said we were still missing one thing. Some of the kids called out “Baby Jesus!” Then I unwrapped Jesus. The Christmas celebration, I told them, is about Jesus! Christmas is about God giving us a baby.
I asked if they had a baby brother or sister. Many raised their hands. I asked how they and their parents felt when they first saw that new brother or sister. “Happy!” was their reply. I said that God sent us the baby Jesus so that we would feel happy and so we would know how much God loves us.
Then I gave them the third clue. I use a book in my profession. I pulled out the Bible (which some of them identified) and then said, “Did you know that the Bible talks about kids?” Then I read from Matthew 19:14: “ Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'”
I then told them that I had now remembered what I do. But before I told them I wanted to see if they had figured it out. Did they know my career? One boy suggested I made Christmas trees! Another that I made ornaments. Then one girl said, “You work in a church!” “Yes,” I said, “I am a Christian pastor.” Then I added, “My job is about Jesus.” I asked if they had any questions.
One boy raised his hand. “Yes,” he said, “what do you do? I don’t understand.” That question again, I thought to myself. Then it came to me. It was simple. It broke through all of the institutional baggage of the church. It was beautiful and it was true. I told him:
“I get to tell the story of God’s love in Jesus Christ, just like I did with you today! Then, I get to help people experience that love! And finally, I get to work with people to make that love the most wonderful thing in their life! This is what I do!” I told them. “Thank you for reminding me what I do. This is my career. And love my job!”