Many years ago, in a small village church in southern Scotland, the church leaders were questioning the elderly pastor as to why the church wasn’t growing. To those leaders, a dismissal seemed in order. They said to the pastor, “No one has come to Christ through your ministry in the past year.” The pastor, trying to keep his position, said, “Yea, it has been a lean year, but what about wee Bobby?”
The “wee Bobby” of which the pastor spoke was a small boy, around four years old, who had knelt in the church altar and committed himself to Jesus. But the church leaders had been unimpressed by the child’s supposed decision. They believed that a child that young couldn’t possibly understand enough about salvation to legitimately become a Christian.
What they missed was the fact that even though the boy was from a poor family, it was a family of devout Christians. The mother, for example, often read the stories of famous missionaries to the children. Those stories had stirred little Bobby’s soul for Jesus.
Sometime not too long after Bobby’s conversion, his village church conducted a missions meeting. As part of the service, a missions offering was collected. When one of the ushers passed by young Bobby, the boy touched the man on the sleeve and whispered, “Please put the offering basket down on the floor.” The usher was shocked by the request, but he obliged the child if for no other reason than to see what the boy had in mind. You can imagine the man’s surprise when Bobby — in bare feet no less — stepped himself into the plate. When the usher asked why the child had done this, the boy replied, “I have no money to give to God, but I give Him myself.”
Okay, so whatever became of wee Bobby? Did he ever amount to anything for Jesus? You bet. He grew up to be Robert Moffat, the great missionary who spent more than 50 years ministering in South Africa, becoming nothing less than a missionary legend in the process. Moffat’s life and ministry bear ample evidence of the fact that he meant business when he knelt in that altar as a child and later stepped into that offering basket.
I find at least three teaching points in the story of Robert Moffat, and I offer them as the close to this short post. Consider each one carefully and ask yourself, “How does God want me to apply this to my life?” They are as follows:
- We should never seek to dissuade a small child from pursuing spiritual matters. The whole idea of “Wait until you are older” is a lie from the devil. If God the Holy Spirit is working on a child, who are we to throw water onto that spark?
- God isn’t limited by the size of a congregation when He wants to do something special. It’s not that He’s against crowds, but He doesn’t require them. Even in crowds, salvation experiences must always come down to individual decisions.
- What Jesus really wants is ALL of you. Figuratively speaking, He wants you to step into that offering basket. Why? It’s because He knows that if you ever make the decision to give Him ALL of you like that, that one decision will take care of a lifetime’s worth of “little” decisions that He wants you to make concerning Him.