In September my church kicked off a new emphasis on discipleship, using Franny Channy’s book Multiply as a tool. The book is orange and orange signs abound in and around our church. Our pastor, Lon Solomon, even sported orange shoes one week as a visible sign of commitment.
It may seem wholly unrelated that we celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday in September as well. We took her to dinner in Baltimore and met up with family from Pennsylvania. After a delightful and yummy dinner we walked to the edge of the Inner Harbor, and passed a doorman, at the Marriott, named Kenneth. Kenneth was a friendly guy and engaged Nate in conversation. If there was some measure of how adept a child is at this type of encounter, Nate is upper, upper echelon. The kid can talk to anyone, and he says interesting, winsome things. He introduces himself with a handshake and looks people straight in the eye. It’s a tremendous gift. He’s ten now, but he’s been making fans out of strangers since he was two years old. So Kenneth took a liking to Nate immediately and said, “Hey, I’d love to show you guys the view from the observation deck.” Now, we weren’t staying at this hotel. We were just walking by. But that’s Nate for you. We probably spent about fifteen minutes with Kenneth. He took the picture above — and he was right, the view was amazing.
On the way out Kenneth said, “Wait, I have something for you guys” and handed the boys little velvet bags of goodies. Inside were plastic jewels (maybe for diving for in a pool?), a pirate eye patch, and an orange Nickelodeon wristband. A random little exchange and a random little gift, but Sam especially, was elated.
Daddy Will decided he’d start wearing the wristband himself, in support of Multiply. It stands out with a pin-striped suit mind you, but maybe it would be the impetus for some interesting conversation. As an aside, a couple of weeks later our church passed out actual Multiply wristbands — but we weren’t there because someone in our house was sick or something. So Will has been wearing this Nickelodeon wristband for more than a month and not a single person has acknowledged or asked about it. Not one. Well, until two days ago.
Two days ago Will and I were out to lunch with Will’s brother, Tom, who was in town for a business conference. We sat in a booth, Will tucked back into one corner with his injured leg propped up on the bench, and Tom and I sat across. Wonder of wonders our waiter, who looked to be in his early twenties, was also sporting an orange wristband.
“What’s the significance of the orange wristband?” Will asked.
“Oh,” he said, “It’s a brewery that benefits lost dogs.”
We all laughed a bit because obviously that’s not the answer we were expecting.
Will then said, “Oh okay, because I have one too, but mine is for a series at my church.”
Then our eagle-eye waiter said, “Does that say Nickelodeon?”
“Uh, yes, it does,” Will admitted, as I burst out laughing my horrific hyena laugh. In fact the awkwardness of it struck me as so hilarious that I could barely stop laughing. So the wristband has still not lead to a single syllable of significant conversation!
But that’s not really the point, is it? The point is to be ready.
Peter writes that we are to be always prepared “to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15
Praising God today that Will and I know this hope. We know the reason for it. May we always be willing to share it with gentleness and respect.