I walked by a fountain in the mall the other day. I was reminded of one of my childhood experiences with a shopping mall fountain.
I must have been about 6 years old. I wandered off while my mom was shopping. It was very common for me to wander off because my mom had to take care of my two sisters (by herself) as well.
I approached the fountain because it looked really cool. There was a huge plaster whale in the middle of the fountain and it was shooting water out of it’s spout. The whale’s mouth was open with a big smile. It was a very inviting situation for a 6 year old. For some reason I remember that I HAD to see what was inside of it’s mouth.
The water in the fountain came up just over my knees. I noticed that in the water there was a lot of change. I began to fill up my pockets with change. By the time I got to the mouth of the whale, my pockets were overflowing with change. I needed to climb up into the mouth of the whale, but my hands were also full of change. I had no place to put the 2 dollars or so in coins in my hands, so like any smart (or extremely dumb) kid, I put the change that was in my hands into my mouth. To this day (I’m 39 years old now) I remember the taste for some reason.
Inside the mouth of the whale was a small mountain of change (thinking back, it was probably at least $100 or so). I felt like I had found a pirate’s treasure! But my pockets were full, my mouth was full, and I could only take about 2 dollars in my hands. I spat out the coins in my mouth. I then began to empty my pockets of all the small change and proceeded to put only quarters into them. When my pockets were full, I used the front of my shirt as a basket and scooped up as much $ as I could into it. I was very excited because this was the first time I had come across free money. The money that I could take with me was not enough. I used my shirt to scoop money out of the whale’s mouth into the pool, thinking that I could take the money from the pool later.
By the time I started to climb out of the mouth of the whale, a crowd had developed around the fountain… In the crowd was a security guard. Needless to say, my first experiences with authority figures were not very positive. Nor were the experiences with my parents after I was delivered to them (time and time again) by the authorities…
I write this month’s entry with not just to let you know a story from my childhood, but to remind you that God uses whoever He pleases, in spite of what that person has done in the past. For some strange reason, God would call me years later to be a Pastor.
I have friends in full time ministry that have intentionally tried to burn down their church when they were children. Other friends I know that are Pastors now that dropped out of school or were in Juvenile prison at one point in their lives.
God does not save us because we are good people. He saves us and starts to make us good people. If you’ve had a rough past, don’t ever let it stop you from following hard after God’s call on your life.
The Apostle Paul was the “chief of sinners”, Matthew was a tax collector, ½ of the disciples were fishermen (who probably cussed and drank all the time). The list of sinners turned saint goes on and on. God never condones sin, but He calls sinners. He makes them holy. We are Justified, and are being Sanctified for an eternal Glory.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” Ephesians 5:8