June 1, 2018
Have a Little Talk With Jesus
Guest author Alyssa Miller and her husband, Matt, are members who worship at the Downtown Campus with their four children. Alyssa also serves on the Women’s Ministry team and was one of our testimony speakers at our recent Women’s Spring Conference.
During morning breakfast with my little people, I began sorting yesterday’s mail. I came across a newsletter from close, local friends who serve youth in the city. I opened the envelope and half-read, half-exclaimed, “They are moving to Africa!?” My 3-year-old burst out, “Yay!” then without missing a beat, went back to eating her Cheerios with no further interest. I finished collecting the travel details, including their send-off party date, and marked it on the refrigerator calendar.
The remainder of the morning, I had a rising feeling from the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t stop thinking about the letter. My chest felt tight. I got the kids dressed. I sent my oldest off to the bus. My chest felt tighter. What was going on?
Have a Little Talk
I grew up at a soulful, Baptist church in North Minneapolis. And among many traditional African hymns and songs, was a tune called, “Have a Little Talk With Jesus.” I began to hum it. Then I began to sing it. I must have gotten pretty loud because the 3-year-old asked me to keep it down so she could hear Sesame Street.
Then it hit me. I needed to actually have a little talk with Jesus! Does God ever speak to you in song like that? As I swept up the breakfast floor, I told Jesus I was feeling some-sorta-way about the letter, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. And as if he were at my kitchen table, with coffee in-hand, I sensed him ask, “Do you want to move to Africa?” I stopped sweeping and leaned on the broomstick and thought aloud, “Well, no. But I like the idea of it.” Then he asked, “What part of the idea do you like?” I began sweeping again. “… I think I like the adventure of it ...”
A Little Talk, Reveals a Lot of Sin
In that short talk with Jesus, he showed me I was headed down the dangerous path of comparison. I was coveting the future experiences my girlfriend’s kids would have with the ho-hum experience I felt my kids were having. My feelings revealed I didn’t trust that Jesus was doing a good work in my family (Ephesians 2:10). I was trusting in my offerings to him (insert Cain & Abel story, me as Cain) instead of the offering he made on my behalf (insert Jesus and the entire New Testament). I wanted to be impressive instead of letting his acceptance of me impress upon my heart.
As a result, I had a false joy for my friends. A false joy that, if not checked, would lead to bitterness and broken relationship. Even more sadly, I was going to miss out on the blessing of adventuring with my friends, through prayer.
Yep. Jesus showed me all of that while sweeping the breakfast floor.
Confession Is Refreshment Is Contentment
Sesame Street ended, and I sat down in the living room with my littles and showed them the picture of our friends and the place they were going to serve. I told them that I had been jealous at first, but I wasn’t anymore—Jesus had forgiven me of my sin and I repented. My one-year-old stared blankly at me, sucking on her pacifier, but I think the 3-year-old got it. Together, we imagined the adventure of serving Jesus in a new country. We prayed for our friends’ finances, preparations, and protection. Then we joyfully asked Jesus to help us on our adventure … to the grocery store that morning.
Surely, “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).