When you Google him 74 news articles appear. He has been on all the major news stations, including CNN, and on radio shows across the country and Canada. The Detroit mayor has called him. He’s gotten tickets to Detroit Lions and Tigers games. Detroit policemen and firefighters, U.S. Navy officers, University of Michigan basketball stars, U.S. Congressman Hansen Clarke, and Detroit City Councilwoman Joanne Watson all came by to see him. He’s gotten shirts, hats, hugs, balloons, calls, cards, letters, volunteers, donations from across the country and from two other continents (Africa and Europe), a hosts of “likes” and “shares” across the Internet, and a bunch of offers too many to name. I am talking about the “Lemonade Boy”; I am talking about my 9-year-old son Joshua Smith.
On the Google search my Joshua comes in just behind Cleveland Orchestra flutist Joshua Smith and NBA player Joshua Smith. He’s right there at the top with folks who have spent a lifetime crafting their careers. He’s there from a single idea that came to him a few months ago. One reporter asked, “So it was just a spark of an idea?” I responded, “Some people call it a spark. I call it inspiration from the Holy Spirit that he got as a result of prayer.” The true genesis of his idea has gotten little, if any, press at all, but I share with you how it happened and what God wants to happen to all of us when we commit our ways to Him.
You may have heard that Joshua was “troubled” when he heard on the radio that there was a crisis in our beloved Detroit. He thought the city would no longer exist “like Pluto” is no longer a planet. He asked me “What can we do?” I instructed him to pray. So every night after hearing about the city’s financial troubles—with jobs and services being cut, Joshua committed to praying for Detroit. Before this time, Joshua had come to me concerned that “I don’t know how to hear from God.” I told him to continue to seek God and God will speak to him. When Joshua said, “I want to sell lemonade to help the City of Detroit,” my husband and I agreed to support his vision. But we, too, thought it was a spark of an idea. We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Joshua’s idea to raise money to donate to our city to cut the grass and pick up trash in our neighborhood parks was God’s idea.
How else do you explain his story going viral in a day and eventually reaching three continents?
How else do you explain the accolades, including a college scholarship for a fourth grader?
How else do you explain his getting tickets to see two ball games he had been begging us to see but we couldn’t afford?
How else do you explain a boy selling refreshments inspiring the world?
Because of God a suicidal woman from Laredo, TX says, “I can now go on.”
Because of God a hopeless Detroit woman says, “You give me hope.”
Because of God a volunteer group, whose founder is from a tony suburb, cut the grass at the parks.
Because of God a little boy from a dim city shined his light throughout the world.
God takes the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27): a lunch of two fish and five loaves to feed more than 5,000 and unlearned fishermen and crooks as His starting crew to spread the Gospel are two of the greatest examples of God’s supernatural power (Matthew 14:14-21;
Acts 4:13; Matthew 10:1-31).
He tells us to be willing, and He is able to use us: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7).
Through us the world is blessed and this allows God to get the glory: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
We don’t discount the human accolades; we just put them in their proper place: under the sovereignty and grace of God. And for that we are most grateful.
My One Thousand Gifts List
Clear notes for my “Power of Motherhood” message
Adjustment of my schedule so I didn’t have to travel in polar directions
Going to Bible study
Good Friday service
Brother Abdu Murray for giving a thought-provoking Good Friday message
Discipleship fellowship at the play “Favored”
Being able to support Chevelle by purchasing tickets to see Joseph in the play “Favored”
Sweet fellowship with God where He gave MORE direction for the parenting column
Grocery shopping for Flynn so he could sleep in
A beautiful Spring in the backyard with the boys