The excitement in the air was palpable.
This Sunday morning the sun had come out and there was not a rain cloud in sight. Our hearts beat faster as we looked over to the nearby apartment buildings and envisioned the children racing to join us. This day was a long time coming. For months we had planned this summer outreach. We had painted props, practiced skits, handed out hundreds of flyer. We had prayed our hearts out. And now it was time.
And then from the direction of the apartment buildings came Christopher.
He marched purposefully towards the group, looking at no one in particular but rather up in the air waving his finger towards us.
"DO. YOU. WANT. TO. KNOW. MY. NAME?" He yelled at the top of his lungs. "MY NAME IS CHRISTOPHER!"
We introduced ourselves to our first visitor Christopher. He was an awkward boy who talked to loud and spoke at the wrong times. He was dressed in older clothes and his hair was messy. We were so glad he came.
Other than our "church kids" he was the only one who came.
The weeks of summer flew by and every Sunday, more children would wander over. They didn’t come in the hundreds but rather the tens...or even ones.
We got to know Christopher better as he barreled over faithfully each week. He lived with his mom in the apartment buildings. She didn’t have a car so we would often see this 10 year old riding his bike back and forth from the grocery store, bangs in hand. He didn’t have many friends. It was easier for the other children to stay their distance than get to know this boy.
But Christopher was resilient and feisty and he captured our hearts that summer.
As the leaves began to change to the beautiful shades of orange and red, our outreach finished for the year. Fall programs were beginning and we found a way for Christopher to join us.
As I planned my programs that next year and assessed how successful the summer was, I decided to measure my efforts not by the world, or even the church’s, definition of success.
Rather, I asked myself. "Was I faithful?"
I purposed to forgo the accolades of the saints for the approval of my God. If I was tired, I would persevere. If I was stuck, I would pray and ask for help. If a mass of children came through the doors, I would serve them to the best of my ability, and, when I fell short I would rely on the many hands and feet of Jesus that so faithfully came alongside to help me. And if only one came, I would pour out all I had.
In the throngs that followed Jesus on this Earth he looked out so many times and touched just one.
If in the crowds of people we miss the individuals all our efforts will be in vain.
He saw me in a crowd as a little girl. Quietly going about my life, Jesus captured my face in His hands and showed me He had a plan that no other person in this world could fulfil but me.
I was just one.
One of billions he died to save.