The Story of Strong Love for Jesus

Daniel Moye

“Poppy, when I grow up, I wanna be a dictionary!”

It’s mid-afternoon and he, Jim Moye Sr., affectionately labeled Poppy, sits with his wife Sarah Moye on the elevated back glass porch of their 60’s ranch-style home, situated in a cozy neighborhood in the heart of Atlanta. The sliding glass door leading onto the porch whooshes open as Rachel Moye, a precocious, ball of energy, now in her third year, runs over the threshold and into her grandfather’s lap, proclaiming that puzzling exclamation: “Poppy when I grow up, I wanna be a dictionary!”

The ever steady and analytical Jim Moye looks to Rachel and calmly inquires, “Rachel, what is a dictionary?”

“Poppy, you know. Those people who get on boats and go across the sea to tell people about Jesus!”
Jim, realizing the mistake, lets out a warm and hearty laugh, “Rachel, you mean a missionary!”
Rachel thinks for a minute then exclaims, “Oh, yes, a missionary!”

Fast forward four years:

Rachel, now seven, spends a relaxing Saturday morning with her grandparents. She lays on the family room floor with Mama Sarah sitting next to her, as the two casually dress up a few of Mama Sarah’s old Barbie dolls. As Jim looks on, a question comes into his mind, a question of whether or not his granddaughter still desires to become a missionary, or, if perhaps with time, her aspirations have changed. He turns to Rachel and asks, “Rachel, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Rachels head snaps up as she quickly retorts, “I know what you want me to be.”

“What’s that?”

“You want me to be a Christian.”

Slightly taken aback, Jim allows a moment to pass and then two, before he finally responds, “Rachel, I gotta think about that one. I’ll get back to you this afternoon.”

Rachel goes back to playing with the dolls as though nothing had ever happened, but Jim cannot take his mind off the implications of Rachel’s gut reaction response. He begins to pray and he prays through the morning before he meets with Rachel in the afternoon.

“Rachel, let me tell you what I want for you.” he says, “Christianity can be a mile wide and an inch deep. You can go all the way from one end of the spectrum to where you only profess to be a Christian all the way to the other end which is a deep relationship with the Lord. You can consider yourself a Christian and be all over that spectrum, so I’m not gonna tell you that’s what I want for you. I’m not gonna put that pressure on you, but I’ll tell you what I will do. I’m gonna pray with everything in me, that God will do whatever’s necessary in your life, to give you a strong love for Jesus because that is the most important thing. Everything hinges on that one thing, whether or not you have a strong love for Jesus.”

“Okay Poppy,” Rachel replies absentmindedly as she pops a frozen york mint into her mouth and scrambles off.

Clearly, at that age, she doesn’t understand the wisdom and power behind that prayer for her life, but Jim understands. He understands that the most important thing you can do for someone is pray they develop a strong love for Jesus and he understands this truth not because he saw it in a book or a magazine, not because he heard it in a sermon on the radio, and not even because he read it in the breathed word of God, the Holy Bible. No, Jim Moye understands this truth because he’s lived it. He’s lived through every point on that spectrum, from professing to be a Christian, yet having nothing to do with Christ all the way to having a deep, intimate relationship with his personal savior. He knows the joy of walking closely with Jesus and he knows the emptiness of a life without Him at the center, so when he prays that prayer, he prays from experience.