To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20 The five-year-old boy was at a fast-food restaurant with his mother, brother and sister.
I’m proud to say the family, just because they were surrounded by others, saw no need to change their custom of praying before their meal. The boy asked if he could say the prayer. They bowed their heads, and he led them.
Loudly, he began with the common table prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest, and let these gifts to us be blest.” Then, he added, “And, Lord, if mom would add the gift of fruit pies for dessert, I would be even more thankful. God, this is Your friend, Danny, signing out for the entire family. Amen.”
Many of the people at the other tables smiled, especially at that last part.
Most did, but not all.
At the next booth, with her back to the family, a lady whispered so all could hear, “No wonder this country has gone to the dogs. Kids today don’t even know how to say their prayers. As if God doesn’t have other things to do than provide fruit pies. And since when do we ‘sign out’ at the end of a prayer.”
She said other things, but you get the drift.
The boy who had prayed, with deep concern etched into his face, asked his mom, “Was that a bad prayer? I didn’t know I shouldn’t pray for fruit pies.”
Mom said, “Danny, I’m sure God liked your prayer.”
Her comforting was complimented by an older man who leaned across the aisle, smiled, and said to the boy, “I’ve been praying for a lot of years, and if I know God like I think I do, He would rate that prayer as being one of the best He’s heard. In fact, I think it’s a shame more people don’t ask Him for fruit pies. You know, fruit pies can be good for our hearts and souls.”
Unsurprisingly, mom did buy fruit pies for the entire family. She warned her children, “Take it slow. They’re hot.” During the mother-mandated cooling time, the little boy picked up his fruit pie, knelt on the booth seat, turned around, and tapped the shoulder of the lady who had critiqued his prayer.
When she turned, the lad encouraged, “Here, I want you to have my fruit pie. Fruit pies sometimes can be good for our hearts and souls, you know.”
And that, my friends, is as fine an example as I have ever seen of heaping burning coals upon someone’s head.
You see, most people when they insult you expect an insult in return. But that’s not what Christians do, is it? We (ought to) return kindheartedness for abuse and gentleness for the world’s harshness. We do that not because it drives them nuts or because we want to heap coals of fire or even because we think in doing so we will show them we can rise above their pettiness.
We do it because that’s what Jesus did for sinful humanity. We do it because He wants His followers to love others, even as He has loved and sacrificed Himself for us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there is not a practicing Christian who has managed to escape the taunts and insults of the world. Grant that we may deal with this kind of abuse in a way that brings honor and respect to the Savior. May we teach those who offend us that the forgiveness the Christ has won for us — like fruit pies — is good for our hearts and souls. In Jesus’ Name we pray it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus Lutheran Hour Ministries All rights reserved; not to be duplicated without permission.