I have not had the blessing of raising a child and I am for sure not planning to do so soon, but I have been one before and have had experience with close friend’s children in the past. When you think about children’s art, or your art from when you were a child (and frankly, my art to this day), to be honest… it is horrible. Most times, it is an indistinguishable conglomeration of lines and shapes and crayon strokes that are that child’s best rendition of a princess, a superhero, or in your average “church kid” … the preacher. However, no matter how odd, confusing, or head-scratching the drawing might look to a grown-up’s eyes… to the creator or maker of that drawing, it looks EXACTLY like whatever they were endeavoring to draw.
Right now, I have about ten of these drawings spread out on my desk made by the masterfully talented children Ava and Greta Pate, daughters of the masterfully talented artist and one of my greatest friends, Jeremy Pate. Over the past four and a half years, many times after worship these two beautiful little girls would run up to me with their handcrafted art that they had made just for me. To them, it was the absolute greatest gift they could possibly give someone as they awaited my reaction. No matter what it was, or what they had taken the time to draw, my response was always something to the tune of, “This is AMAZING!!! Thank you so much! You are so talented! This means so much to me!”
At the time, it did not mean nearly what it means to me now; since they have moved away, and I do not have drawings coming in anymore. To my eyes then, to be frank… it was just another drawing from a kid. It was something to just say “thank you” and then put in the back of my Bible and continue going about my conversations with other people. As I look at them now, they mean so much more to me and they actually resemble their intended creation far more than I had realized at first. Why is that? I believe it is because I am now able to look at these drawings from the eyes of the maker. I am no longer looking at them from judgmental grown-up eyes, instead, I am looking at them for what they are… gifts from two precious little girls.
You know, when it comes to evangelism and soul winning I believe there may be a lot to be learned from this example. The people we see every single day in Atlanta traffic, at the mall, at the gas pump, at the cash register, or wherever we may be… those people can be seen two ways. The first way we can see them is as the person who just cut us off going twenty miles over the speed limit using a certain form of “hand signals” more than using their blinkers. Or, we can see them as a troubled soul in need of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. We can see the imperfections, the rough edges, the problems, or the sin in their life, or we can see them as someone Jesus went to the cross for.
It all hinges on the way we decide to perceive them… as a lost cause, or as a Gospel call. When we decide whether someone would be receptive to the Gospel purely based on a first glance judgment, we have neglected the power of the Gospel and the power of Jesus, and we may be guilty of sin. Peter said, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” 2 Peter 3:9. Paul said, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” 1 Timothy 2:3-4. Paul also tells us, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
The Gospel is powerful enough to transform the lives of even the most “terrible drawings” into the greatest of creations. It all depends on whether we are willing to look at these people as their Maker does. Their Maker would send His Unique Son just for them. The same way He would send Him just for us. When we look at them through the eyes of their Maker, we are no longer looking at them with judgmental eyes the same as with a child’s drawings. Instead, we will look at them for what they are… a gift and an opportunity from the One who created and made us too.
– Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism