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It’s a hot afternoon in June, and Libbie and I are on the back deck. My poor basil plant is withering, the one thing in our yard I claim to care about – since it provides the crop for our Summer Bow-Ties, fresh pesto, gorgeous pizza – and it’s nearly dead. My dependence on the rain to water it is not a smart choice in the drought we’ve had.
I hand Libbie her little yellow spray bottle and ask her to water my plant. I will dump some more water on it later, of course, but her helpfulness needs an outlet that does not include stirring hot pots on the stove or trying to help her brother sit up.
She gives it a good spray and then keeps on watering the friends around it: the bushes, the grass, and the weeds that grow around the weathered deck.
She does not discriminate, joyfully doling out to each one, weed or treasured food-bearing plant, its share of needed water. And I think this – this is the faith of a child. This is what Jesus meant.
Libbie does not know to differentiate between people, plants, colors. She doesn’t know that one plant is helpful and one plant is a nuisance to the garden. She sees them like I believe Jesus sees people: each one as His favorite. Each one important to Him. Each one beloved, in need of some tender nurture.
And often, I think He gives us children to learn some of these simple lessons, the truths we’ve forgotten since we, age two-and-a-half, watered our own weeds.