Conversations at the Locker Bay
written by Harry Tom
(From our RE:NEW Magazine Issue 3: #nofilter. Read other articles from this issue here)
I saw Emily every morning sitting by her opened locker as I made my way to my classroom. Emily likes to sit in front of her locker in the mornings and have a picnic breakfast while waiting for her friends to arrive and for the morning bell to ring. Our usual “good mornings” turned into an engaging conversation when I noticed an excessive beam of joy coming from her countenance. I noticed her camp T-shirt from Forest Home Christian Conference Center and took a leap of faith to ask about her recent weekend.
“I went to a youth retreat with my church,” she said. Most students would leave it at that. She could have ended the conversation, changed the subject, or simply sat there with her great big smile staring back at me. What would you have done? Have you been in similar situations where you sense the door of opportunity opening to share your faith, “to anyone that would ask about the hope within you?”
Emily is in sixth grade, and, in her childlike manner, she began to share her experiences at the retreat listing the fun activities, times of singing, and inspirational “talks.” She mentioned the life-changing experiences and “choices” she made. Her infectious smile and contagious joy began to stir in me similar emotions as I began to recall the affect Christian camps have had on my own spiritual life. I was encouraged by this encounter. I was also deeply convicted about my own personal witness, and lack thereof.
That conversation with Emily carried a simple lesson. If you wear the Christian logo, the cross around your neck, or that favorite shirt from camp, you better be ready to talk about it. And when you do talk about it, I pray that you would be as genuine and honest as a sixth grader, with no filter. I Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Are you prepared to give an answer?