*Dear readers, this article ran yesterday in my weekly inspirational column for The News-Star, a Gannett owned daily out of Monroe, LA. I thought you may enjoy it being reprinted here.
He was small for his age, his voice timid. The clothes he wore hung on his body in folds. I wondered if whoever bought them had done so with growing room in mind. His glasses took up the upper half of his face. While the other kids grinned, laughed, and did their best to find something, anything with which to weigh in on my presentation, he seemed perfectly willing, even anxious to blend into the background. He was most at home in anonymity. And yet, I can’t seem to forget him. The last time I saw him he was standing in a classroom clutching a piece of paper bearing my autograph as if having it gave him something of value.
Trust me; I know how silly that is. That slip of paper held nothing of worth. The value lay in the one who held it. In the role of visiting author at his school, I’d done my best to leave every child there with that message, “You matter. If you breathe in and out, you have purpose.” I hope someone waters those words.
Life’s always been hard, but I can’t imagine being a kid today. The news offers murder rates and Hollywood updates in one breath. Keep the teleprompter rolling, time is money. Message given and received: Kick a ball, write a song, or design a new computer program, but do it fast. Your value is in your production and you’re not going to live forever. Talk about pressure!
Society is paying a huge price for letting our children believe they just happened along. How valuable can life be when there is no creator, no purpose here today, gone tomorrow? Let’s stop the nonsense. Let’s read them these words from Psalms 139, “For You formed my inward parts. You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance and in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.
Indeed, let’s tell them they were born for eternity and free ’em from the shadow of worldly expectations or what the Preacher of Ecclesiastes masterfully referred to as vanity of vanities. There is only one shadow where all who come find passion and purpose, and that’s the shadow of the Cross.