A nine-year-old student at the Morris Vanterpool Primary School, at East End, preaching from the pulpit of the Mount Fortune Seventh-day Adventist Church, thrilled a congregation of about 400 as his ringing voice echoed across the church building.
The undaunted young preacher, Clayton Thomas, was at the time delivering a sermon at the beginning of a Children’s Evangelistic Crusade involving the combined congregations of the SDA Church on Saturday, September 1.
“Who Am I? I am a child of the King. What is my purpose? My purpose is to proclaim the Word of God,” he stressed. “My purpose is to let the world know that I have been chosen to win people for the Lord. Oh yes! We can be chosen by God. Chosen to do what, you may ask: chosen to lift up the Name of the Lord; chosen to stand up for God wherever we are – at home; at school; on the playground, wherever we go. Chosen to preach, to teach and encourage others; chosen to be the light of the world.”
His sermon was based on the story of the Hebrew young men – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – who were thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon for refusing to bow down to the image he had set up.
“When Daniel and his three friends were brought to Babylon, the first thing they tried to do to them was to change their identity by giving them different names,” the young preacher told his listeners. “Daniel and his three friends had Christian names but the people of Babylon changed their names to those of the idols they worshipped. However, they could not change their minds and hearts. These young men knew who God was and they had purposed in their hearts that they would not defile themselves. These men declared that they would care for their body by not putting anything in it to pollute it.
“Boys and girls, we need to be like Daniel and his friends. We need to remember who we are…When we feed our bodies the right foods, and when we feed our minds the Word of God, we can think straight and always make the right decisions.”
Calling on his young standby reader to deliver Scripture readings to support his sermon, and standing on a stool at the pulpit to reach the microphone, the child preacher continued: “So there we see Nebuchadnezzar set up an image and demanded that everyone shall bow down and worship it.
“I can just imagine these three young men looking at this image and saying: it has eyes but cannot see; it has ears but cannot hear; it has feet but cannot walk; it has a mouth but cannot speak; it has hands but cannot touch. This must be an idol like Baal whom our parents told us about – and that we should not worship any of them.
“Immediately, they began to pray to God that He would give them the strength to stand up and not bow. And God said ‘do not be afraid for I will be with you. I will strengthen you. I will uphold you’. And that was the assurance they needed – so when they were called to worship they did not bow down when everybody else bowed down and worshipped the golden image.”
The little preacher boy added: “God is looking for brave persons who will stand up for Him no matter what. God wants us to be leaders and not followers who will not follow the crowd but stand up like the brave.”
He exhorted parents, children and teachers to practise the virtues and principles of Christian living and to be proud citizens of Anguilla.
The Children’s Evangelistic Crusade, which ends on September 7th, has the support of the North Caribbean Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church – and Anguilla is the first of the member islands to hold such an event.