Have you ever known someone whose presence simply made you feel welcome? I have known a few of these people in my lifetime, but today I am going back as far as my mind will carry me. I would like to introduce you to “Brother Bob”.
One sunny Sunday morning, little me (I was three or four years old) was playing in the front yard of our home with my baby brother when a big, white church bus pulled up in front of our house. A kindly gentleman opened the bus door and called from the driver’s seat, “Would you children like to go to church?”
We ran inside the house and asked our mom if it was okay. She agreed (I think she may have been familiar with the church), and we climbed the great, big steps into the bus, where several children were already cheerfully seated.
This was the first of many Sundays that dear Brother Bob would stop by to pick up my little brother and me for church. We came to expect him and looked forward to our Sunday outings. My mother often speaks of her memory of me climbing into that big bus with my beloved thumb in my mouth and little brother right with me, his baby bottle hanging from his mouth.
Week by week, my fondness of Brother Bob grew. It was very evident that this man loved Jesus and that he had a special place in his heart for children. As the years went by, I witnessed him invite many more children to church.
He even provided a fun incentive for us to invite our friends to church: every so often he would sponsor “Ice Cream Sunday”. On that day, after church, the bus would make a pit stop at Thrifty’s before bringing the children home. There we all got to choose our own flavor (or two, at times) of ice cream to top our cone.
Looking back, I am really not sure whose money paid for the ice cream; but what I do know for sure is that Brother Bob invested his own time and joy.
I wish my memory was clearer so that I could tell you more. In a way, though, perhaps it is good. The love of Jesus shined through this kind man, and that will stick in my memory forever. His kind deeds are written in heaven and one day, I am sure, he will receive his reward as a good and faithful servant.
Years, or even decades, from now, the children we touch today may not remember everything about us. They may not know what color our hair was or whether or not we wore glasses. They may not even remember our name. What they will remember, though, is our kind heart, our welcoming smile, the simple fact that we were happy to take time to invest in them.