October 24, 2007
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1
Josh Barber was hungry, and because he was hungry he thought nothing of grabbing the family car keys and heading off to the neighborhood Applebee’s for some lunch. That’s not hardly the kind of information that makes for headline news.
Not unless you realize Josh Barber is six-years-old.
Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea of Josh. I’ve seen his interviews. He is a good, kind, considerate kid. He knew that his father was at work, his mother had just undergone cancer surgery, and grandma was still asleep because she works nights. Having driven his toy electric car around the neighborhood, Josh didn’t think twice about taking grandma’s car keys, and having moved his child seat from the rear of the vehicle to a position behind the steering wheel, started out for Applebee’s.
Josh managed to get the car into reverse, and he managed to push down on the gas. The trip went well until Josh backed into the neighborhood electrical box and telephone junction. That’s when Josh decided he might need some adult supervision after all. He ran back into the house yelling, “Grandma, grandma, I was driving your car, and I hit something.”
Josh’s story ends with his father thanking God for saving his boy from injury, grandma saying she was going to get up earlier, and Josh promising a police officer, “not to drive again.”
It occurs to me that Josh’s story is a lot like our own. We think we’re mature; we think we know what we’re doing; we believe we can, all on our own, take care of ourselves. Such kind of thinking has always managed to get humanity into a lot of trouble.
In truth, we need God; we need the Savior. It’s pretty obvious that when we’re left on our own we humans manage to make a mess of our lives, our world, our eternity. Which is why, right from the beginning, it’s best if we come to the Lord for direction and let His wisdom and love guide our actions.
That’s what John was trying to tell us when he said: “Little children, I write these things to you so you may not sin.” John wanted God’s “little children,” no matter what age they might be, to know it is always best to trust the Lord. But John also wanted God’s little children to know that when they’ve made a mess of things, they can still go to their Savior Jesus. The Savior who has redeemed them, can also fix things for God’s “little children.”
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, let me know that I can, as a little child, trust You. Give me a faith that relies on You rather than myself. Grant me a heart that comes to You when I have sinned. This I, one of Your little children, pray in Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries