My husband and daughter walked down the street, a foil-wrapped loaf of banana bread in hand. Evelyn had been talking for two days about the “banana bwead” for the neighbour. Already at two-and-a-half, she loves to bake things for people.
They knocked on the door and the old man answered, a smile lighting his face.
“Would you like to come in for tea?” he asked.
Although it was past Evelyn’s bedtime, they followed the man into his kitchen. He gave them tea and chocolate chip cookies. Evelyn sat on my husband’s lap and nibbled her cookie slowly.
The neighbour told them his name and that he used to be an engineer with the school board. He showed them some of his woodworking, which was beautiful.
He told them about big old wooden doors that had gathered dust in the school basements after steel doors became all the rage. The fire department had informed the school board that a basement full of old wood is a fire hazard, so our neighbour took the doors home. He cut them into thin strips and made his own hardwood floor.
The cutting, sanding, polishing – it must have taken forever. There is always so much more to things – and people – than meets the eye.
When my husband and daughter came home, she was exhausted and covered in chocolate. But she was happy. I don’t think she understands that God is using her to reach the lonely old man down the street, but that’s okay.
It always amazes me how the Holy Spirit can work through our children – even the very young ones. As parents, we need to encourage it. We need to involve them, direct them, focus them.
I don’t enjoy baking the least bit, but when my apron-clad two-year old is standing on a kitchen chair, wielding a spatula and covered in flour, my heart swells. I’ll bake every single day if it means that she is learning to do things for others, to be a blessing, to show Jesus’ love.
At night, she prays, “Bwess the neighbour; keep him safe; and help him know Jesus” and I’m positive that her simple, heart-felt prayer carries as much weight as hours of spiritual warfare.
“Train up a child in the way he should go…” This is what it all boils down to. Encouraging your child to love others the way that Jesus loves.
It’s not just so that our children will become better people. It’s because the old man down the street is lonely. It’s because the waitress across the road is hurting. It’s because the family next door is broken.
It’s because God wants to lavish his unconditional love on each of these people.
Who can demonstrate that kind of love better than a child?