How My 6 Year Old Schooled Me in Pastoral Ministry

Posted: October 20, 2011 in Evangelism, Serving

I got schooled in pastoral ministry by my 6 year old son, Landon, last night. He was an innocent school master that taught me a hard truth about myself and sacrificial giving.

The Story

After church last night Landon and I stopped at a nearby Wal-Mart (Don’t Hate) to pick up a few things. As we came out of the store into the rain we were stopped by a homeless gentleman named, Jerry. Jerry began to ask me if I had any quarters that he and his wife could use to wash and dry their clothes that had been soaked by the rain throughout the day or give them some money for food.

You see Jerry and his wife Lynn live in the woods behind Wal-mart with many others. His wife has hepatitis and he’s been out of work for a long time. I explained to him that I didn’t have any cash in my wallet (rarely carry it) but I was more than happy to buy them dinner inside at the McDonalds. He was grateful.

Landon and I went back inside and purchased the food and brought it back out. Jerry said, “God bless you. Will you please pray for us.” I said, “Absolutely!”, and Landon and I circled up and held hands with Jerry in the Wal-Mart parking lot and prayed. We parted ways and I walked away feeling good that we had shown love to Jerry and that I had the opportunity to model Jesus for my son.



The Interrogation

As we drove away Landon started this conversation:

Landon:  “Dad, does Jerry not have any money?”

Me: “No he doesn’t.

Landon: Why doesn’t he get a credit card?

Me: Because you have to have  money to have a credit card. (Not a universal truth)

Landon: Why does he live in the woods?

Me: He doesn’t have a place to live.

Landon: Why doesn’t he live in his car?

Me: He doesn’t have a car. You see son, that’s why we should be so grateful for what God’s given us and should be generous to share with others. That’s why Dad went in and bought him some food to show him the love of Jesus.

(Long Pause)

Landon: Dad, it’s raining outside. They’re stuff is all wet. We have a dry house. Why didn’t you invite him to spend the night and let him wash and dry his clothes there?

(BOOM……Deafening silence in the car.)

Landon: Dad, he doesn’t have a car. You could turn around and I know we could find him real quick and ask him. He’d probably be really happy and jump in the car.

Me: Son….(Tongue Tied)

Landon: Why didn’t you ask him that Dad?

Me: Because…..

(Landon continued this CIA type water boarding of questioning the entire way home.)

I finally got my whits about me and explained to him that I didn’t know this man and I have to be careful as a dad and husband to protect my family and be careful about who we invite in to our home. Landon seemed to understand and he seemed to roll with it.

I couldn’t roll with it.

The Lesson

The more I reflected on it, the more God wanted to speak to me about this.

The beautiful gift that a child brings is not only child-like faith, but also child-like solutions. In Landon’s mind it was simple: It’s Raining outside > He doesn’t have a home. > We do. > Let’s invite him.

Most kids aren’t jaded with all the reasons of why we “shouldn’t or can’t” do something. They just see the need and say, “Let’s fix this!” For me buying a meal for Jerry was easy. I’ve done that many times and frankly it was much cheaper than the inconvenience of having a homeless couple (that I don’t know) with all their wet stuff  come to my house for the night.

While many might congratulate me. I felt exposed. I hadn’t considered going the extra mile.  My point is that being a disciple of Jesus always means moving beyond what’s easy and comfortable. Thus the daily call to pick up our cross and follow Him.

Lessons Learned: 1. Look for the extra mile and walk  it out with others. 2. Don’t take my son to Wal-Mart. 🙂

What about you? When has God challenged you to go the extra mile? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

  1. April says:

    Kids are so great! I do love how simple their solutions are & how their minds work. My son shows me things like this in many areas all the time. We’ll be praying for Jerry too!

    • Nathan Rouse says:

      Hey April,

      You’re right! God uses my boys to teach me so much about life and myself. They are so quick to point the areas that I hypocritical and/or inconsistent. I’m grateful for them. Hope you guys are well!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Let’s utilize RCC – as a house for the homeless/destitute – love, give, and reform – bringing life. We have a huge gym with all the ammenities…we can get funding. Hands and feet of Jesus this is church.

    • Nathan Rouse says:

      Hey Anonymous :),

      I absolutely agree that we should be the hands and feet of Christ. This might be something we can do in the future. Are you currently a part of one of our Life Groups that are serving those in need?


  3. Hank says:

    This reminds me of a time I took my son to lunch at Bojangles several years ago. There was a shabby (and quite smelly) homeless man in line just in front of us. I was “on guard” as my son was young and I was out of my comfort zone with this stranger. After we ordered and were picking up our tray of food, I realized the man had only asked for a cup of water which they gave him for free, and then he left. I sent Andy to find a table, then I went outside to find the man and offer to buy him a meal…but he was gone, that fast. I walked around the building, but he was nowhere to be seen.
    Sometimes our opportunities to help someone can be a fleeting moment, gone if you hesitate. May we be truely thankful for all of the blessings He showers upon us daily, and may we have an open heart and open mind to the needs of those around us.

    • Nathan Rouse says:


      Great comment. Scripture states that we very well may have opportunity to “entertain angels unaware.” I want to live wide open so like you I don’t miss an opportunity to give love and compassion to someone in need.


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