Rite of Passage Parenting: Honk if you love Jesus
It’s that time of year again. We’ve had a special day to honor mothers and are now heading toward Father’s Day.
During this season, I often get to thinking about my mom. She was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. She could sit and tell jokes for hours. My brothers and I have inherited her sense of humor. But she also loved Jesus and spent many hours giving her time to tell people—especially children—about Him. Mom was someone who loved to laugh, loved Jesus and wasn’t afraid to live her faith out loud.
I grew up in the days before Christian T-shirts were popular. Back then, you had to live like a Christian before anyone would know you were one. Nowadays, all you have to do is buy a T-shirt and advertise yourself as a follower of Christ.
The forerunners of T-shirts were bumper stickers. If you had a car, you had to put at least one bumper sticker on it and often more than one. You could tell a lot about the people in the car in front of you by what kind of bumper stickers decorated their car. Some of these stickers were humorous, some political and others as religious as could be.
See if you remember any of the following: “If guns were outlawed, only outlaws would have guns.” “Happiness is seeing your mother-in-law’s face on the back of a milk carton.” “I intend to live forever—so far, so good.” “Money isn’t everything, but it sure keeps the kids in touch!” “My kid sells term papers to your honor student.” “Procrastinators Unite … Tomorrow!” “Reality is a crutch for people who can’t handle drugs.” “Talk is cheap, until you hire a lawyer.”
Then there were the religious ones: “Give God what’s right—not what’s left!” “Trade God your pieces for His peace.” “It’s hard to stumble when you’re on your knees.” “Pray’ is a four-letter word you can say anywhere (except in a public school).” “Jesus built us a bridge with 2 boards and 3 nails.” “Count your blessings . . . recounts are OK.” But the one I remember the best was this one: “Honk if you love Jesus.”
My mother had this exact bumper sticker on her car. She was the kind of person who could get lost in a conversation and miss exits or drive right by our home because she would forget where she was. One day, we were waiting at a stoplight when it turned green. Deep in conversation, my mother didn’t notice the green light until the car behind us started honking. She looked in the rear-view mirror and smiled. This was her way of letting the driver know that she loved Jesus, too.
“Isn’t it nice to know there are Christians in the car behind us?” she said.
Again, the people behind us honked their horn as we continued to wait at the green light. Mom was excited that her new bumper sticker had evoked such a response. She was busy absorbing the joy when she finally looked up and saw that the light had turned green. The guy behind her had rolled his window down to yell at her. The only part Mom caught was something about “God.”
As she pushed on the accelerator, the light turned yellow, then red. Mom sailed through the light, but the car behind us was stuck. Mom put her hand out the window and waved at the unlucky driver, who waved right back.
“Oh, my new friend got stuck at a red light. I wanted to see if he had a ‘Honk if you love Jesus’ bumper sticker so I could get behind him and return the favor!” My mom went home to be with the Lord thinking that everyone who honked at her loved Jesus as much as she did.
Of course, honking doesn’t prove you are a follower of Jesus. But Scripture does give us an indicator to measure our love for Him: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15, NASB).
Does your life reflect your obedience to Him? Do you pray for those who despitefully use you? Do you love your wife as Christ loved the church? Do you submit yourself to your authorities? These are ways that we know God has taken charge of our hearts . . . because we do things contrary to what the world says.
Maybe we need a new bumper sticker or even a T-shirt that reads, “Honk if the world knows you are His by the love you show one another.” Now, that’s something that would make Mom . . . smile.
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827)