And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. – 1 Corinthians 12:5-7
My sweet Matthew is often in Alex’s shadow. Part of it is probably my fault. As an oldest myself, I have a similar personality and outlook as Alex and I often turn to him first, whether Matthew is capable of accomplishing the same task or not.
On the missions trip, Matthew had an opportunity to shine in a new way…one that brought tears to my eyes.
My husband Keith was a kid-person. He was the one they asked to work in the nursery at church, the one to whom they would give the crying child. He was a gentle giant who was perpetually patient with little ones.
My boys have a lot of their dad in them. I get lots of compliments about how they treat younger kids, how they greet visitors, and how they pitch in to act as good friends. And I praise God for it!
Matthew has always had a sense about people. We call him the little emotional barometer. He can walk into a room and know who needs a friend, who needs a word of encouragement, or a word of prayer. It is joyous to watch as he looks for the person with whom he is supposed to connect…and then makes that contact.
On the missions trip, Matthew really got to use this gift.
We were at the Vacation Bible School at the Boys and Girls Club, and there was a little boy named Cal. He was barefoot, with a shock of blonde hair, and wearing glasses. And he took a shine to Matthew. Matthew, in turn, began to lavish on him the love of the Lord.
Matthew sat next to Cal at the morning worship activities at VBS and stayed with him at the game time following. Before long, he was carrying him around piggy-back. They ate lunch together, Matthew tenderly watching him and engaging him in conversation. When it was time to leave, I had a hard time getting Matthew to the car. “I just want to give Cal one more hug, Mom.”
Eleven year old boys are not the most “aware” lot on the planet. Too much going on mentally, I think: puberty encroaching and affecting hormones, learning to manage the ever-changing body, seeking to find a place in the “cool” scale of peers. So, to see my guy come outside of himself and give to this little boy made me teary.
Even more wonderful was how God used this beautiful friendship the next week.
We had Vacation Bible School at our church, and there was a family with an autistic son. Matthew easily reached out to this little boy as well, helping to make him feel comfortable. I got several compliments over the way he pitched right in, and how good he was at reading little Thomas.
I am not sure if Matthew has found his calling for life, but I do know that God is glorified by the things he learned…and applied…from our missions trip.