Mary Jane was a cheerful sort. Her smile was infectious. Having extremely white teeth did not hurt. She colored her gray hair brown. This helped her look younger than her true age. At 60, she told her daughters, “I need all the help I can get.”
She had always been the life of the party. One would not describe her as beautiful. She was the girl-next-door attractive. Her personality took her over the top, though.
Most folk looked down on Mary Jane. After all, she was short, below five feet tall. Though she spent most of her adult life looking up, she was feisty. Few talked down to her. If they were brave enough to try, her return was often too hot to handle. Even men of great stature were wise to be nice to Mary Jane. She feared nobody but her father, the late Ace Thomason.
One night, while watching Johnny Carson on television, Mary Jane had her great awakening. A friend of hers had witnessed to her about Jesus Christ. She cussed her out. “Who do you think you are trying to teach me about God?” she had told her Christian friend. “Believe whatever you wish. Just keep it away from me.”
Something rattled her independent spirit that night while Johnny Carson did his monologue. Her head started spinning. Something mighty began to happen in her heart. Is it time for me to die? she wondered.
Her mind played the words of her Christian friend repeatedly. “You must be born again.” She screamed, “What is happening?” She felt like an ugly castoff. “Oh, dear God,” she cried, “I am full of sin.”
Her heart seemed to explode. She wanted to run and hide. Instead, she fell on her face on the floor. “Oh, dear God,” she shouted, “forgive me. I am so dirty. Forgive me. Wash away all of my sins.”
The words kept coming. More words filled her mind. “Give your heart to Jesus.” She began to acknowledge the truth of her friend’s words.
“Okay, Jesus,” she said, “you win. I am so dirty. Cleanse me. Forgive me. Help me. Save me.”
She did not know the exact words to say, but she knew enough to receive Jesus as her Savior. Still on the floor, she rolled over onto her back and raised her hands in the air. “I feel so clean,” she said. “Lord Jesus, I feel so free. I feel so clean.”
Soon Mary Jane began to tell everyone about her new faith in Jesus Christ. “He saved me,” she said to anyone willing to listen. “I am a brand new person in Christ.”
When the position for Youth Sunday school teacher opened at her local church, she signed up. Since nobody else volunteered, she got the position. Elated to be serving God, she stood up one Sunday and declared her great joy at being the teacher of the youth.
As excited as she was, she never expected what happened next. The fifteen teenagers that walked into her class began to challenge her authority. The second Sunday she led the class, she got into a fuss with one of the young men. He would not be quiet while she tried to teach something she did not even understand.
“You do not even know what you are talking about,” said Zack Martin, 15. “Why would you try to teach the Bible to me? You do not know half as much Bible as I do?”
Others rebelled. Mary Jane made an appointment and solicited help from her pastor. “I cannot handle these teenagers, pastor,” she said. “I need to step down from this position.”
Pastor Rodney Wendell smiled with compassion. “Mary Jane, you are a very special person. Your desire to teach the youth is commendable. Teaching is a great gift to the church. Perhaps you are not ready for such a task, yet. To lead, you need to learn how to follow.”
He continued, “My advice is that you sit under some mature teachers of God’s Word. In the meantime, we can send you to some classes on how to teach youth. Wanting to do something and doing it are two different things.”
Jesus spent a lot of time with His followers before sending them on their own into the world. He trained them. If men like Peter needed training, don’t you suppose we do, too?”
“I believe you are right, sir,” she replied. “I want to serve God. I will be patient and teachable.”
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