July 28, 2022
“I Don’t Want to Be Baptized!”
Some years ago I was the Spiritual Life Director and LCMS Liaison for a Christian maternity home. It was a blessing to hold individual weekly Bible studies with each woman who had chosen life for her baby as they came to live at the home. I designed the first Bible study series to help them learn about God and His Word. I wanted them to come to know their Savior and Lord.
Most of the woman had little or no background in the church. If they did attend church before coming to our home, they often thought of it as having rules and regulations they must follow. It was a great blessing for me to get acquainted with them, and then walk with them as they learned about Jesus and His Word. We had 16 women that came to know Christ. Today I'm still in contact with many of them. What a blessing to see their walk with Christ continue!
One of ‘my girls’ had been baptized as a child and was now growing in her faith as she attended weekly Bible studies, read her Bible, attended worship services, and was actively involved in our spiritual life program. She had a three-year-old son.
We learned her son was not baptized. So, we arranged a special chapel service, made plans to fly the child’s grandmother and uncle in for this worship service, and got permission from his mother to do the baptism at the chapel on a Sunday afternoon.
A few days before this service, I walked down to our preschool because I wanted to take him to the chapel and talk to him about his baptism. As we began walking hand in hand toward the chapel, the boy started saying, “Mrs. Kay, I don’t want to be baptized!”
I had no idea he felt this way and didn’t know why. I had assumed his mother and others on the campus had talked to him about getting baptized. But I was wrong. No one had talked to him about his upcoming baptism. They had just said, “You are getting baptized.”
Thankfully, I had brought a glass jar with water. I also had my Bible with me. When we got to the chapel, I encouraged him to ring our bells. All the children loved to do this! He calmed down. Then we walked together to the front of the chapel where the baptism font was located.
As we stood together by the baptism font, I began telling him what would happen on Sunday. “The pastor will use the small shell that is near the baptism font. See it there? He will ask you to put your head face down over the font. Then he'll pour water over the back of your head three times. And he will read passages from God's Word about baptism.”
As I spoke to him about how the baptism would occur, all of a sudden he looked up at me in surprise and said, “You mean, I won’t have to put my face in the water, Mrs. Kay?”
“No, you won’t,” I responded with a smile. The back of your head will get wet, but your face probably won’t. And, remember, when you are baptized you become part of God’s family.”
“Oh,” he exclaimed, “then I do want to get baptized!”
On Sunday, he stood up straight and tall and was baptized into God’s family. His mother, grandmother, uncle, and godparents, plus many of our staff and clients were present, thanking God for him and his baptism. We celebrated that this child was now part of God’s Kingdom. Praise the Lord!
How often do we think we know why someone is upset or angry about something or even angry at God? Then we find out it is just a misunderstanding.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call (Acts 2:38—39).
That journey at the maternity home helped me learn a lot about baptism. It is one of the topics that divides the Body of Christ. We all believe baptism is important, but we don't all believe the same thing about why it's important. After working there, I wrote a Bible study about baptism. If you would like to receive a free copy of it, send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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