“Mama, Mama,” Eli ran through the house in his stumbly, three-year-old gait. When he caught sight of his mom’s eyes, he dove into her legs and held on tight. “Mama, I gots a pennies in my pocket.” He let go and smiled up at her as his snot clung from his nose to her jeans.
She pulled out a tissue from an ever-ready supply from her own pocket and wiped off her youngest son’s newest mess. “I have a penny. Now blow.”
He blew on command. “Mama! You gots a pennies too? We’re rich!” Eli tried to jingle his mom’s pocket.
Shirley rolled her eyes. “You’re my funny boy.”
“Are we rich? David gots a new orange SVU. He said his dad makes lots of monies.”
“I think it’s a red SUV, honey and his dad does have a good job. Don’t you like our car?”
“David says poor pastors drive wagonstations. He says we’re poor, Mama.”
Shirley held her little guy’s hand and they walked outside together. “Just look at our station wagon. It’s been with us a long time. Should we get rid of it if it still runs?”
Eli took his finger and swiped it along the side wooden panel. “We could wash it. Make it look better.”
“That’s a good idea, but first, we need to talk.”
The two went back into their comfortable little parsonage.
“Hey, my little Eli, I want to know why you’re worried about money.” She sat him on her lap with his legs straddling her so she could look into his eyes.
“Cuz monies is portant, Mama.”
“It is important; you’re right about that, but it’s nothing you have to worry about. Your daddy makes the money for us. I stay home and take care of you and Katy.”
“But Daddy don’t make nuff monies like David’s daddy do.”
“Your daddy has a very important job, Tiger. Remember what he does?”
Eli scratched his head and scrunched up his nose. “Ummm…He tells people bout Jesus?”
“Yes and that’s the most important job there is.”
“Yes, it is. Know why?"
“Why, Mama?” He reached in and squeezed her cheeks together with his dirty, pudgy hands.
“Because when people know Jesus, they want to ask Him in their hearts.”
Eli, deep in thought, continued to squeeze his mom’s cheeks in and out. “Is Jesus in your heart, Mama?”
“What?” Eli let go of his Mom’s cheeks and put his hand on her chest. “Right there?” he questioned, his eyes as big as his beloved fire truck’s. “I don’t see Jesus. Is He indivisible?”
Shirley placed her hand over his. “Inside my heart- that’s where Jesus lives.” Then she whispered in his ear. “Know who else’s heart He lives in?”
Eli whispered back, “No.”
“In your daddy’s heart and in Katy’s.”
“What!” Eli exclaimed as he jumped from his mom’s lap onto the floor. “Jesus lives in Katy’s heart and not mine?”
“We’ve been waiting for you to be old enough to understand but I think you’re ready.”
“You know I love Jesus.”
Shirley hugged Eli. “I know you do. Why don’t you tell Jesus that?”
“You mean pray?"
Eli plopped to the floor on his knees and ground his elbows into the couch so Shirley followed his example. “Jesus, I know You’re indivisible but I want you to live in my heart. I love You this much.” He stopped to give a demonstration. He spread his arms out and even asked his mom for the use of hers, too.
“Mama didn’t remind me today, but I know all these stuffs cuz we talk about them before I go to bed and at church. I know You died on the cross for my sins.” Eli stopped and poked his mom. “See, I been listening.” Sorry when I do bad things like throw peas behind the stove or…we’ll talk later bout this stuff, Jesus.”
Shirley took over, “Thank you, Jesus, for my big boy making a grown up decision to invite You into his heart. It’s in Your Name we pray.”
Eli jumped up, “Amen!”
Just as quickly, he put his hands on his heart and stood very still, like when he played freeze tag with Katy.
Shirley wondered what was going on in his mind.
Then, a determined Eli took his penny from his pocket. “Mama, I’m rich now cuz Jesus is in my heart just like you and Daddy and Katy. I don’t need my monies anymore.”
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