"The Willing Heart"
Here is a true story about a nine year old boy who lived in a rural town in Tennessee.
His house was in a poor area of the community. A church had a bus ministry that came
knocking on his door one Saturday afternoon. The boy came to answer the door and
greeted the bus pastor. The bus pastor asked if his parents were home and the small
boy told him that his parents take off every weekend and leave him at home to take care of
his little brother. The bus pastor couldn't believe what the child said and asked
him to repeat it. The youngster gave the same answer and the bus pastor asked to
come in and talk with him. They went into the living room and sat down on an old
couch with the foam and springs exposed. The bus pastor asked the child, "Where
do you go to church?" The young boy surprised the visitor by replying,
"I've never been to church in my whole life." The bus pastor thought to
himself about the fact that his church was less than three miles from the child's
house. "Are you sure you have never been to church?" he asked again.
"I sure haven't," came his answer. Then the bus pastor said, "Well,
son, more important than going to church, have you ever heard the greatest love story ever
told?" and then he proceeded to share the Gospel with this little nine year old boy.
The young lad's heart began to be tenderized and at the end of the bus pastor's story the
bus pastor asked if the boy wanted to receive this free gift from God. The youngster
exclaimed, "You Bet!" The child and the bus pastor got on their knees and
the lad invited Jesus into his little heart and received the free gift of salvation.
They both stood up and the bus pastor asked if he could pick the child up for church the
next morning. "Sure," the nine old replied.
The bus pastor got to the house early the next morning and found the lights off. He
let himself in and made his way through the house and found the little boy asleep in his
bed. He woke up the little boy and his brother and helped get them dressed.
They got on the bus and ate a doughnut for breakfast on their way to church. Keep in
mind that this boy had never been to church before.
The church was a real big one. The little child just sat there, clueless of what was
going on. A few minutes into the service these tall unhappy guys walked down to the
front and picked up some wooden plates. One of the men prayed and the
boy with utter
fascination watched them walk up and down the aisles. He still didn't know what was
going on. All of a sudden like a bolt of lightning it hit the boy what was taking
place. These people must be
giving money to Jesus. He then reflected on the free gift of life he had received
just twenty-four hours earlier. He immediately searched his pockets, front and back,
and couldn't find a thing to give Jesus. By this time the offering plate was being
passed down his
aisle and with a broken heart he just grabbed the plate and held on to it. He
finally let go and watched it pass on down the aisle. He turned around to see it
passed down the aisle behind him. And then his eyes remained glued on the plate as
it was passed back and forth, back and forth all the way to the rear of the
sanctuary. Then he had an idea.
This little nine year old boy, in front of God and everybody, got up out of his
seat. He walked about eight rows back, grabbed the usher by the coat and asked to
hold the plate one more time. Then he did the most astounding thing I have ever
He took the plate, sat it on the carpeted church floor and stepped into the center of
it. As he stood there, he lifted his little head up and said, "Jesus, I
don't have anything to give you today, but just me. I give you me!"