Earthly Awards Lead to Heavenly Rewards
Jackson* is a 3rd grader who attends Released Time in central Franklin County. He began as a new student back when school started in the fall and had been earning points through scripture memorization. Each time awards day came, Jackson noticed some of the other children receiving award prizes and he asked when he would get one. Awards were usually distributed at the end of the Released Time day. His listener explained that his first award would come when he earned 25 points.
The day finally came that Jackson had earned his 25 points to receive his first award. Rather than giving out awards at the end of the day, the school coordinator decided to hand them out prior to the listening time. Jackson was pleased to receive a small leather bracelet with 5 colored beads on it and as he took it out of the package and looked it over, he asked his listener what each of the beads meant, as he knew each color represented something. Because the other two children who were usually in the listening group had not come to class that day, the listener knew she had time to sit with Jackson and explain the beads, so she went through the meaning of each color one by one.
Though he had heard the gospel message presented before, this time the message seemed to click in his mind as Jackson listened to her explain what the gold, black, red, white and green beads each represented: Gold for heaven, Black for our sin, Red for the blood of Christ shed for us, White for salvation that washes away our sin, and Green for growth in our faith. At that point, Jackson asked his listener if they could pray and ask Jesus to come into his heart.
God had a clear plan for Jackson that day. What if awards had been given out at the end of class? Then Jackson never would have had the opportunity to ask what the color of the beads meant. What if the other children in the listening group had been there? The listener would not have had the time to explain the beads to Jackson. Because all the circumstances aligned for the conversation over the bracelet, Jackson heard the gospel message at a time when his heart was ready to receive it. God’s timing is always perfect.
*Name has been changed.