August 31, 2010

Lollipops from the Big Boy

Yesterday, I was privileged to spend the day with a friend and her family. They have a folks in their house that are sick, and I thought I'd pitch in to see how I could help. It was a really fun day for me, but not so much for the sickest member of the family, who was sent here and there on doctor visits and tests.

At one point, I was hanging out in the play room of a hospital babysitting the daughter, while the "patient" was having some x-rays done and blood drawn. The little girl I was watching took turns on the plastic slide, playing with the building blocks, and generally dancing around the play room with the five other little girls who were hanging out. Their moms and grandmoms were stationed around the perimeter, as I was, watching the fun.

From nowhere, the girls begin to scream, and I honestly thought one of them had seen a snake or something. I spun around, and each of them ran to her mommy's arms. My little friend dove into my lap. They were all staring at the door and screaming, so I jerk my head that direction to see what? A little older lady walking in with a person in a 7-ft costume resembling the Shoney's Big Boy. Anyone remember that guy? Well, this fella was supposed to look like an overgrown little boy with freckles and a ball cap. No big red nose, no flashy makeup, no freaky wig. But he sent these gals into a terror.

The poor man who put on that costume thought he was doing a good deed, visiting children in a hospital, handing out lollipops. I felt bad for him as each little girl hid her face, screaming, trembling, and the poor guy didn't get to put a single lollipop in a little hand.

It was a quick visit, as the wise Big Boy decided to make a get-away ASAP. However, the damage had been done. Those poor little girls clung to the mommies for the next 15 minutes while all of us kept reassuring, "He's gone. He's not coming back. He's left already."

Now, I know Jesus is not a piece of candy--although He is sweet--but indulge me a minute. I couldn't help but think of how many times folks genuinely want to share Jesus with someone and end up scaring the poor person half to death in some way or another. I've been guilty. I remember using the fear card on my middle school friends, going into detail about hell's fire. Or being part of well-meaning evangelistic trips where we attacked folks on the sidewalk with tracts or statements about their eternal destination. And I thought about the little old lady who came in with the Big Boy. If she'd come alone, surely every child would have run to her to receive the lollipop. Lord, help me know when I'm wearing the Big Boy suit in time to peel it off and come into the room like the little old lady instead.

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