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“Does Jesus even love the Devil?”

The words hung in the room as I sat there, stunned. I looked over at my dad, who, with his Doctorate in Theology, surely had an answer… he looked back at me because I was the teacher. Neither of us had an answer. As I racked my brain for an answer to justify what I believed I knew to be true, I didn’t realize that those series of moments would be my favorite time as a teacher, mentor, and pastor.

There was a series of fortunate events that would lead us to this moment.
So, before I give you the full context, let’s go decades back.

As far back as I can remember, my parents have hosted bible studies. My mom enjoys hosting, my dad loves studying in the bible and teaching others about it. Every week, we’d get the house ready in a mad dash, and my dad would come upstairs after printing up the latest additions to his bible study and sit in the living room and wait.

Sometimes people would show up.

Sometimes no one would show up.

For a while there, one person showed up.

Every week we’d be ready. Whenever my sister and I would complain, mom or dad would tell us that it doesn’t matter if there’s one person or one hundred people, we’re doing it as unto the Lord.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him… Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Colossians 3:17, 23-24 (ESV)

Years went by.
We left churches.
We joined new churches.
Bible studies ended.
Bible studies began.

But one thing never changed.

Whatever we did. Wherever it was. It didn’t matter if there was one person or one hundred people, we served as unto the Lord.

When I started my job at a previous church and there were months of 80+ hour work-weeks required to completely redesign the education area and make it into one of the most beautiful spaces to teach and learn in…

… it was unto the Lord.

When the previous classes of 0-8 and 9-19 weren’t developmentally appropriate but creating the five classes that would be meant more planning, more time teaching, and more volunteers to find…

… it was unto the Lord.

After a series of unfortunate events that I’ve written about at length, and classes dwindled to one or two students depending on the week, it didn’t matter…

… it was unto the Lord.

One day, however, a new family came to church. That family had a son named Christopher, he was six or seven, I don’t remember… They came to a bible study that my dad was leading at the church and stayed together. They came back next week and I got to meet them. I was wearing my Detective Pikachu shirt and the youth had just finished their dinners and we were getting ready to head up.

I love my Detective Pikachu shirt.
It’s a style that reminds me of Andy Warhol.
It’s multiple prints of the same picture
In different neon colors.

I introduced myself to his parents, let them know he was free to join us, and they were welcome to come up and see the space and that we had recently redesigned everything. Christopher looked at his mom, she gave the go ahead, and he let them know he’d see them after class. He knew I liked Pokémon, so I was cool. As he bounded up the ramp ahead of me, we talked about our favorite Pokémon.

The correct answer is Bulbasaur.

His family faithfully attended Sunday mornings, afternoons, and Wednesday evenings. Often, Christopher was the only student. Since I don’t believe that Student/Children’s ministry is just a glorified babysitting gig, this meant that I was developing three separate lessons. One for each class time, each week, mostly, just for Christopher. Far from being a burden, I found it fun. Taking into account his strengths, weaknesses, and biblical knowledge, I had the opportunity to design a series of lessons just for Christopher!

As I had other classes on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, I relied on volunteers for the most part and the volunteer pool was very shallow. But my mom and sister showed up week after week. My sister, often after spending the day teaching classrooms of 2nd graders, would drive 40+ minutes (one way) to spend a couple hours teaching another 2nd grader before driving back home so my mom could have an evening off or listen to dad’s teaching. They were there, even though towards the end it was only one child, because ultimately…

… it was unto the Lord.

As time passed, and I knew my time at the church was coming to an end. I had begun to refocus my lessons because I wanted to make sure that no matter where Christopher went (his family had been contemplating moving, and eventually did) or who taught him next, that he knew who God was and how much Jesus loved him.

The weeks prior we had been focusing on God being our protector, a strong fortress, and how we can trust him. The last lesson had been more of a fun time that involved Christopher hiding in a fort that he made out of blankets and pillows and telling us truths about God as I (playing the devil) threw a giant inflatable burrito at him (my fiery darts) and one of my college students (God) deflected them.

It was epic.
Trust me.

This week, however, I had spent the week at the hospital with my mom, who for the third time in that many months, had almost died. Lauren was with her, and my college students were unavailable, so I pulled dad. We sat in the room and let Christopher sit on the throne in the corner. Surrounded by various stuffed animals and with his feet dangling from the 6’ x 3’ throne I had forged as an architect student, dad and I sat in different areas, and I got Christopher to recap what he had been learning.

I told him, that I might not be able to teach him anymore soon, but that it was important that I made sure he knew about Jesus, how he lived a life without sin, how much he loved everyone (including those who didn’t like him), and how he even loved those who would lie about him and kill him! And that if we chose to love Jesus back we could be with him in heaven when we die. BUT! That Jesus didn’t stay dead, that God raised him from the dead and he’s up in heaven with God, protecting us from the giant burritos the devil throws and probably watching the big buff angel work out.

My middle schoolers and Christopher loved the big buff angel.
That’s the angel in Revelation 20.
He has a key to a bottomless pit
and a GIANT chain.
He’s gonna tie up the devil with it
and yeet him into the pit.

I asked Christopher if that made sense and if he had any questions. He had a lot of them… He asked if there was anything that could make Jesus not love someone… I told him that there was nothing he could do to make Jesus not love him…

But what if I tell a lie?  

Jesus loves you, even if you tell a lie.  

What if I talk back to my mom? 

You shouldn’t, but Jesus will still love you if you talk back to you mom.  

What if I’m mean to my little brother? 

Even if you’re mean to your brother, Jesus will still love you. 

Question after question, Dad and I answered each time with the truth about Jesus’ love for us. Christopher kept asking questions moving to others about people who killed someone else, who hated someone else, who bullied… and then he asked THE question.

“Does Jesus even love the Devil?”

I looked at my dad.
He has a Th.D.

That’s one of those questions that they don’t cover in seminary, and you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, because the answer is so simple… right? I don’t remember the exact wording, but told him we knew that God/Jesus was angry at the devil for hurting humans and leading them away from him. We explained that Jesus’ salvation is only for humans, and that’s one of the reasons the Devil hates us.

Emboldened by the potential stumping, I remember Christopher tilting his head as a new line of questions formulated. He asked if Jesus loved the people that lied about him and hated him.


“What about the ones that killed him?”

Even the ones who killed him.

“But if Jesus loved them no matter what, why did they want to kill him? Why did they hate him so much?”

I looked at dad again.

I remember telling Christopher that that was a very big question, and that people like Mr. Bill, myself, and Pastor Scott spent a lot of time studying it. But that I think that it had to do with the fact he was different. They didn’t like the fact that he loved everyone, they didn’t like the fact that he did things differently than them, because it meant more people liked Jesus than those people. Dad talked about the Pharisees didn’t want to lose their power and how that scared them. 

And time was up. We either went down, or his parents came up, I don’t remember. But I do remember his questions and how even amid such darkness happening in my life and around me, my dad and I got to spend the morning answering Christopher’s questions and telling him how much Jesus loved him, no matter what.

During the meeting that would lead to my position being eliminated, charges were levied at me for not growing the ministries, and some of the members even cited the 18” FunkoPop of Mewtwo as opening a portal to the occult. I remember packing it up, and sharing with my parents how much Christopher loved the Mewtwo, how the very things they criticized me for were what allowed Christopher and us to bond. I told them how I would have been thrilled if the classes grew as I had initially hoped, but that even if it hadn’t; I knew the students I taught loved Jesus more than when we started. I think I posed the question to them about whether it would have been worth it if we were there just for Christopher. My last Sunday there was the last time I saw him and his family, outside of Facebook updates.

Over two and a half years later, I reached out to Christopher’s mom, to make sure she was cool with me sharing his story by name, she shared with me the following: “I have awesome news about Chris. He accepted Christ as he savior a few weeks back and was baptized this morning. Thank you for playing a role in the walk my son took to find the Lord…”

I want to tell you right now. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, absolutely confirmed: All of that suffering, while I would never want to go through that again, melted away when I read that. I felt like Théoden, after he was set free from the power of Saruman – I felt rejuvenated, like I had woken up from dark dreams and I felt like myself for the first time in a long time.

Part of why I wanted to share this story, is because I wanted to encourage you that nothing you do for the Lord is wasted. You’re planting seeds. Paul in 1st Corinthians 3:5-8 talked about how he planted the seeds of the Good News and Apollos watered them, how they work together for the same purpose, but what is most important is that God makes it grow – and that’s true. Jesus, in John 4:36-38 talked about how when the harvest comes that Joy awaits both the planter and the harvester – and that’s true. I haven’t met the individuals who prayed with Christopher but a few weeks ago there was a party in heaven because of it.

My family has over a century and a half of experience educating others, we’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on the eight degrees we share between the four of us, and I’m so thankful that none of us let pride prevent us from serving as unto the Lord. I don’t say that to boast, but instead to hopefully illustrate how much importance God places on even the little children. God orchestrated a situation where my family was able to be there for someone in the way they needed it, for the time they needed it, planting the seeds of the Good News that would be watered and harvested by someone else.

We may never get to see the results of our efforts, but if done for and as unto the Lord they’re not wasted… and that is an encouraging thought.


The blog post is done, but if you’re interested, I had two other stories I think are are important but I cut out of the main post.

I talked a lot about my family’s role, but our Pastor, and my college/youth helped to celebrate Christopher, whether it be always ready to listen to or share stories with him, or in the case of my High Schoolers, one Wednesday evening both my mom and sister were sick, so my fantastically flexibly students adopted Christopher. We talked about Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, while making paper Shofars to blow and sharing what we were thankful for, how God had been good to us, and drinking a toast to God’s continued faithfulness.

I wouldn’t have been able to be as flexible if I had had twenty students that evening.

Another story I had thought about when my brain decided to try and connect interesting dots is when I was going through the Lost Chapter of Luke. I knew I wasn’t going to have volunteer coverage to be in compliance with our Policy on Protecting Students. So, I got a bunch of boxes (20-30), filled them with packing peanuts, other things, and most importantly a coin. We placed them in the back of the sanctuary and my sister, worked with him through a small work sheet where he had to “find things” after he completed that I told him he had to, as quietly as possible, search for a coin in the boxes, as soon as he found the coin, he could loudly let us all know he found it, run up to stage and I would award him a prize – a detective Pikachu plush with a Sherlock Holmes hat and a magnifying glass, it was extremely cute.  

I explained to the congregation that Christopher would be joining us in the back, and I began to teach about the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son.  

(here’s a link to my typed notes: The Lost Chapter of Luke (Typed Notes).pdf). 

The timing was perfect.  

I was talking about how the widow searched her house just to find the one coin, and how when she found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.” I had just begun to explain how the party to celebrate finding the coin would have cost more than the 10 pieces of silver she started with and Christopher exclaims “I FOUND THE COIN!” He ran up to the front holding it out in front of him, then realized the adults in the room were looking at him. He slowed up and I welcomed him up with me, and I had the entire congregation (who had previously been mean mugging me) celebrate Christopher and that he found the coin. I awarded him the Detective Pikachu and thanked him for helping me illustrate the lesson to the church.  

About the importance of the lost one and how there are is a party when even one is found.

He was so proud, I remember he held up the Pikachu, then hugged it, and ran over to show his parents.

Published inPersonal MusingsTheological Musings

One Comment

  1. Great post! That’s a great encouragement to realize that despite how things may look on the surface, that God is working behind the scenes to make it all work together. It’s definitely easy to get discouraged when we don’t see the results we want, or when we want them, but like you said, with God, nothing is wasted! And there is nothing like seeing the fruit from all the seeds you planted finally spout up. I’m so glad that you were able to see that and get the encouragement you greatly needed at that time. Thanks for sharing Christian!

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