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Sharing Christ With Young Hearts

Brenda Palmer


I don’t want to be known for the kind of manager I have been, how many miles of handrails I’ve installed in nursing homes, or that I did a good job of bookkeeping. My goal is to be remembered for what I did for the children that God places in my sphere.

One quarter I thought it would be great to share ASI and “Christ in the Marketplace” with my Junior class. Starting early would give them a great perspective. Though small, our church has diverse occupations represented, and the idea was to ask the adults to visit my class and tell the Juniors about how they brought Jesus into their work.

There was a bit of a buzz when I told the church family what we wanted. Some folks hadn’t really thought about it. (I guess they’d never been to ASI!) There was some reluctance, but in the end, people began to catch the vision. We set up a display cabinet for items from each occupation, and designed activities for the children.

The pastor and the school teacher volunteered to be first, and the children really did learn a lot about what they do behind the scenes.

I asked our young mortician if he would talk about his work. He’s somewhat introverted and I didn’t know if he’d feel comfortable in front of a class. He finally agreed, but he struggled for several weeks with the question, “How do I share Jesus in my work?” It was a real epiphany the day he stopped by and told me that he had finally realized that he really did work for Christ in his marketplace: He made people happy by preparing their loved ones for burial. He did a wonderful job of explaining his trade to the class, and I was so thankful for the blessing that he received by finding that he personally had a work for God.

A contractor came and talked to the class about construction work and how to share their faith. He told them about an experience one Friday when the job superintendent came and asked that they work all weekend. There was an important inspection on Monday and the building had to be ready.

The superintendent knew that Saturday was a church day, but said, “Can you ask your pastor for permission?”

“Not an option,” the contractor told him. “But I work for God, and if you go and ask God to tell me to work, I’ll be happy to work.” Even I held my breath at that. Would he really trust God to talk to the job superintendent?

There was only one stipulation, the contractor cautioned. If God said to work, it would be a gift of service to God and he certainly couldn’t take any pay for that time. In fact, the owner would have to issue a credit on the contract. The superintendent protested, “You know I can’t have you on my job without paying you. There is too much liability.”

“Well, then I won’t be able to work.”

Resigned, the superintendent admitted, “I knew you wouldn’t work. But I had to ask. I know you will do the best you can without working on your Sabbath.”

The crew came in on Sunday. And interestingly, they were the only trade that was ready for the inspection on Monday morning!

This afternoon, some of the kids that were in class that quarter are here in the shop helping us finish handrails for a large retirement home. They worked here after school when they were teenagers and now they are young adults. They are great workers and I really appreciate each one of them. I appreciate the privilege I have to share my friend, Jesus, with them in our marketplace.