Glenn W. Harrell
Little Marquett Willard took school supplies, blankets, gift cards and a smile to her classmate Breeanna yesterday. Breeanna lost her house and belongings in a fire. She had also been bullying Marquette since the school year began. Marquette and her family continually prayed for her. Breeanna’s home was broken and struggling, even before the devastating fire.
Mr. Willard reminded his daughter Marquette that Breeanna was just acting out her pain within and that she needed love, not rejection.
Mr. Willard used Jesus’ model and example of “giving a cup of cold water”, and “doing this unto the least of these” as true motivation for helping Marquette and her family. He and his wife had taught all their children to “love their enemies and to pray for those who mistreat them”.
“Our calling is not to try and make people act and behave like Christians”, said Willard, “It is to show and tell Jesus to them. Just like He did and does with us, He will work within to make us all like Himself and it won’t be a phony religious act where one believes himself superior to another, thinking better behavior will make someone a Christian.”
It turns out that Marquette and several of her friends had prayed silently for Breeanna while at school and all throughout each day. They never once made a spectacle of their faith, insisting on their “rights” or that everyone else approve of their Jesus. They simply sought to obey, trust and serve Him without drawing attention to themselves.
It also turns out that events and relationships like these have been happening since first century Christians were being persecuted for their faith by their peers. God never left them or deserted them. He went to school and work with them just as He still does today with all who know and follow His Son. He supported them in their demonstrations of His love to the unlovely. All Christians can take instruction and comfort in the words of Jesus.
“You have heard people say, ‘Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.’ But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven.” —Jesus
In this way, God and prayer will always be in our schools and colleges. Our children can know that their faith and works in His name are real and that they are rewarded by a loving Heavenly Father. They “shine as lights among the people of this world.”
Since God is working in us, He goes to school, work and play with us. Light needs the dark to be effective.
“My dear friends, you always obeyed when I was with you. Now that I am away, you should obey even more. So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved. God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. Do everything without grumbling or arguing. Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, as you hold firmly to the message that gives life. Philippians 2:12-16
Since Christ lives in you, you are now equipped to do his will and work, including suffering.
“I am glad that I can suffer for you. I am pleased also that in my own body I can continue the suffering of Christ for his body, the church. God’s plan was to make me a servant of his church and to send me to preach his complete message to you. For ages and ages this message was kept secret from everyone, but now it has been explained to God’s people. God did this because he wanted you Gentiles to understand his wonderful and glorious mystery. And the mystery is that Christ lives in you, and he is your hope of sharing in God’s glory. We announce the message about Christ, and we use all our wisdom to warn and teach everyone, so that all of Christ’s followers will grow and become mature. That’s why I work so hard and use the mighty power he gives me.” Colossians 1:24-29
Since the Holy Spirit resides within us, we have the power to face our adversaries, within and without, with love.
“Don’t be immoral in matters of sex. That is a sin against your own body in a way that no other sin is. You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own. God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God.” I Corinthians 6:18-20
So the next time someone tells you that God and prayer have been kicked our of our schools and work place, remind them that He never left. And one day Breeanna may decide that the Jesus who loved her through Marquette and her friends may come to know Him too.
Pray for more homes like the Willards. Pray for more Christ Ambassadors like Marquette. Pray for our public schools and teachers. Pray for our Post-Christian, Post-Truth country who is enamored with secularism, materialism and self-reliance. This is the new United States of America that we must live and be the hands and feet of Christ within. What a great privilege and what a superior calling we have!
“The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.” II Peter 3:9—including Breeanna.