A week ago today Carolyn, the children and I and were on our way to beautiful Lake Ann Camp for the annual conference of the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches. We all traveled to the Traverse City area for the conference last Monday and then little Kevin (who’s not so little any more), Taylor and I returned on Tuesday and just Kevin and I on Wednesday. It was a wonderful conference. Pastors from around the state of Michigan spoke which was a real treat. The Lord deeply challenged me through the teaching of these men.
We stopped at the Grand Traverse Mall on our way to the camp on Monday and made a quick stop at Target. On our way into the store I saw a lady who had her eye on us as she was walking out. With eight children we get some interesting looks so I didn’t think much of it. But no sooner had we passed her than this lady spun around and ran up to me and said, “Excuse me – are all eight of these children yours?” I was surprised she had counted all the children so quickly. I told her they were all our children by birth. She quickly moved to Carolyn and said, “I just want to shake your hand” as she vigorously shook Carolyn’s hand, “and tell you how much I admire you.” She then told us she was one of twelve children and had five of her own. Before she left she repeated to Carolyn what a great mom she was and how much she respected her for raising eight children. This brief experience really made Carolyn’s week and mine.
It all happened so quickly I didn’t have time to ask this lady if she was a follower of Christ. I had to wonder. That brief event last Monday afternoon challenged me think about how I should try each day to give this kind of encouragement to others. As a Christian this is one of the best ways to tell others about Christ. I’ve asked a few questions of myself. Do I glorify God with my life, as I should? Does the expression on my face give away the fact that Jesus has changed me? Do I have the kind of positive impact in the lives others as this kind lady had on ours? She certainly knew how to make us feel like a million bucks. It really ought to be the goal of each believer to point others to Christ with words of encouragement.