By Linda Porter Carlyle
Trevor Paul Monroe looked at the green duffel bag that Pastor Chuck placed on the table in the front of the room. Pastor Chuck looked around at the class. “I see we have a visitor this morning,” he said. “Trevor, is that a friend of yours? Would you like to introduce him?”
“This is Ivan,” Trevor announced. “He moved into my neighborhood.”
Pastor Chuck smiled. “I’m Pastor Chuck, and I’m very glad to meet you, Ivan,” he said. “I’m glad you came to church with Trevor this morning.”
Mac squirmed in her seat. “What did you bring in the suitcase?” she asked.
Pastor Chuck winked. “I hoped you’d ask,” he said. He unzipped the long zipper and poked around inside the bag. He pulled out an orange cap and put it on his head. The word, “Broncos” was written across the front, and there was a picture of a horse’s head below the word. Pastor Chuck straightened the cap’s brim and grinned at the class.
“That’s a Denver Bronco’s cap!” Trevor said. “My brothers like that team!”
“And if I wore this cap, what would you say about me?” Pastor Chuck asked.
“That you like the Denver Broncos!” Joseph exclaimed.
“That’s right,” Pastor Chuck agreed. “Ivan, choose something out of the bag.” Pastor Chuck put the duffel bag where Ivan could reach it.
Ivan rooted around in the duffel bag, took out a wrinkled gray T-shirt, and shook it out. “Pacific Union College” was printed in a big circle on the front.
“If I wore this shirt, what would that tell you about me?” Pastor Chuck asked.
“You went to Pacific Union College?” Mac guessed.
“Or maybe your brother or sister went to that college and gave you the shirt,” Joseph suggested.
“At least we would know you like that college,” Trevor put in.
“Good!” Pastor Chuck said. “Ivan, put the shirt on the table and, Trevor, you dig in next.” Pastor Chuck shoved the duffel bag over to Trevor. Trevor pulled out another T-shirt. This one had a picture of a dollar bill printed on the back above the words, “The buck starts here.”
“I know what that is! I know where that came from!” Trevor exclaimed. “I have a shirt that says the same thing! I got it when we visited the place last year where they print money! I saw stacks and stacks of money there! I probably saw a million dollars!”
Hannah reached into the bag next. She pulled out a heavy-looking coat that said, “Harley Davidson” across the back.
“My Uncle Randy has a jacket like that!” Ivan said. “He has a Harley motorcycle, and he takes me riding whenever he comes to visit. I’m going to have a Harley, too, when I grow up,” he added.
Trevor poked Ivan. “Do you think your uncle would take me for a ride someday?” he whispered.
“Sure!” Ivan answered.
Pastor Chuck looked at the class. “Why do you suppose people wear clothes with words or slogans on them?” he asked.
“So other people will know what they like?” Mac suggested.
“Yeah. So other people will know something about them,” Joseph said.
Next Mac dug into the duffel bag. She unfolded a black T-shirt that had a white picture of the moon on the front. Under the moon was printed, “Be the moon.”
“This is a new shirt my wife just gave me,” Pastor Chuck said. “What will this shirt tell people about me when I wear it?”
Everybody stared at the shirt. “I don’t get it,” Mac said finally. “What does that mean? ‘Be the moon’?”
Pastor Chuck turned the shirt around. There was a white cross on the back and the words, “Reflect the Son.”
“Oh, I get it now!” Mac exclaimed, bouncing up and down. “I learned about that in school. The moon doesn’t have any light of its own to make it shine—it reflects the sun’s light. That’s how come it shines and is so beautiful. And we’re supposed to reflect Jesus’ love in our lives. That makes us shine!”
“That shirt means you’re a Christian,” Joseph said. “Nobody would wear a shirt like that if they weren’t a Christian!”
“Exactly!” Pastor Chuck agreed. “Which leads me to the reason I brought all of this stuff here today.
“When people wear shirts with words or caps with a sports team’s logo, they are making a statement. They are saying that they support that particular team, or they are proud of where they went on their vacation, or that they like a certain kind of motorcycle, or whatever.
“Next month we are going to have a baptism at the river. Being baptized is making a statement. What is it saying?”
“That we belong to God,” Mac said.
“That we know Jesus died for our sins,” Trevor added.
“That we’re proud to be part of His family,” Joseph said.
“Those are terrific answers,” Pastor Chuck said. “I was thinking some of you might want to be baptized and make that statement.”
Trevor raised his hand. “Does a person have to be baptized to go to heaven?” he asked.
“No,” Pastor Chuck answered. “But it makes God so happy when we follow Jesus’ example and let everybody know how we feel about Him.”
Ivan poked Trevor. “What is ‘baptized’?” he whispered.
Trevor looked at Pastor Chuck. “Wait a minute,” he said. “We have to explain to Ivan what baptism is.”
Do you have T-shirts or hats with names on them? What do people know about you when they read your shirt or hat? Have you been baptized yet? Did you ever think that being baptized is like wearing God’s name where everyone can read it? Go to www.pacificpress.com in the kids’ stuff section. Look in the left-hand column for “Joseph and the Baptism Story” to find out about Joseph’s baptism.—Mrs. Sox