by David Phelps

"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person." - Mother Teresa

March, 1997

One evening recently, our family was eating dinner in a fast-food restaurant. Our four-year-old daughter, Monica, had ordered a kid's meal, and there was a maze on the back of the bag. Monica kept referring to it as "the amaze."

"No, sweetheart," I said, "it's not 'an amaze,' it's 'a maze,' like 'a car,' or 'a tree,' or 'a dog.' Okay?"

"Okay," she answered.

"All right," I said, pointing to the maze. "What's that?"

"The amaze."


Then, an instant later, she said, "The maze."

The next afternoon, she became convinced that trees that don't lose their leaves, like pine or fir, were called "livergreen" trees. My wife, Charlotte, and I were unable to convince her otherwise. Afterward, I craved liver and onions for a week.

As parents, we didn't give up on Monica when she didn't get it right the first time. And God, our heavenly parent, doesn't give up on us, either.

God didn't give up on Jonah, even when he gave up on himself (Jonah 1:12). God didn't give up on the city of Nineveh either (Jonah 3:10). Jesus didn't give up on Peter, even after Peter had denied him (John 21:15-19). And God doesn't give up on us. Instead, God sent Jesus to suffer and die on a cross so we could have a chance.

After Peter had failed again and again, after he had disappointed Jesus over and over, even after he had denied Jesus three times, the last recorded words Jesus spoke to Peter were "Follow me!" (John 21:19b). Today, Jesus speaks the same words to us: "Follow me!" He never stops asking. He never gives up. He speaks the same words to everyone, over and over again.

Sometimes, in our witnessing, it might not seem as if we're accomplishing anything. But we can't give up. God doesn't give up on us, and we can't afford to give up on our witnessing, or on the people around us. We must tell them about the God who won't give up on them, the one who says, "Follow me!" And about God's "amaze"ing grace.

"The lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but he is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish,but that all should reach repentance." (2 Pet. 3:9 RSV.)


Copyright © 1997 by Maplewood UMC