God is a Good Father Series: Ephesians 5:1

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;” Ephesians 5:1 (KJV) 

I didn’t expect a three-and-a-half-year-old to teach me a lesson about following Christ, caring tenderly, and showing kindness to a neighbor. Nor did I believe his actions would inspire me to write a blog post. But a toddler, a plastic van, and a grasshopper demonstrated how to love one another and live by faith more than most sermons.

My husband sells organic wheat to a James Beard award-winning baker, and today, the bread maker brought his wife and toddler with him. 

Their energetic kid pulled out a plastic Volkswagen van food truck with a sliding door, menu, awning, hanging baskets, and window buffet to play with while his father and my husband talked business. 

The child lifted his arms skyward, asking for a lift. His mother made a sweeping motion and scooped him into her arms. She lifted him and his van up and over the sides of our 9×16-foot hay wagon. 

Standing on top of the flatbed, a gust of wind teased the boy’s curls, and the distant sound of belching Jake Brakes didn’t faze the kid. When he spotted a grasshopper jumping near his tennis shoes, he giggled and screamed, scooping up the grasshopper in his tiny hands.

I immediately visualized the grasshopper as the teacher, instructing this young padawan something new.

Within seconds, the toddler opened the door of his Volkswagen and set his new friend inside. He rolled the plastic tires across the wooden boards, making screeching sounds until he went down. Hugging the plastic van against his stomach, he reached one hand toward his mother, who gently set him and his new friend back on the soft dirt of a newly planted field. Once there, he opened the door and released the grasshopper. 

As soon as the baker and his family left our ranch, Ephesians 5:1 came to mind, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.” It wasn’t a favorite verse of mine, or one I ever memorized, partly because when I heard the passage recited in a sermon, it sounded like another item on my super Christian “should-do list.” I imagined this person had the gift of hospitality or a natural ease for inviting neighbors into a dusty house or backyard. 

The beautiful gift and lesson the toddler taught me—something I wished I understood from the pulpit—was that the little things we do for others make a massive difference in the life of a neighbor. Up until this grasshopper incident, I didn’t consider that I had already experienced gifting some of my neighbors and friends with rides to the hospital, help into a walker, and lifting a cast iron pot filled with pot roast, potatoes, and carrots into the oven for a friend who couldn’t lift something that heavy. 

I’m not listing these small acts to impress anyone. In some small way, my shortlist (that I never considered worthy) encourages me to follow Christ and walk in love as He has loved me, like in Ephesians 5:1.

The toddler’s kindness shown to a grasshopper on our ranch modeled God’s love and compassion toward my neighbors. For me, the kid’s sermon-in-action gave me a new confidence going forward into 2024—I can do this because Christ first loved me, and I want to follow His example and love Him back!