Building Shelves with a 4-year Old


There’s this crazy story retold in 3 of the Gospels about Jesus taking a day out of His life to cross a raging sea in the middle of a storm to spend an afternoon with possibly the most insane man we read about in the Bible. He’s known as the demoniac, and he lived among the tombs, naked, hurting himself and others, and society had given up on him.

Jesus went there with His disciples – I think He was showing them the way to do it. It’s about people, in their place of need, being fully loved and cared for.

Jesus set this guy free in a moment – then called him to become a full-time missionary to those he previously terrorized. How’s that for God-mandated 180 degree turn!

And now, 2000 years later, we are the ones chosen to proclaim life and grace – to be ones who show love and freely dispense hope. We are called to be everyday missionaries to see the Great Commission fulfilled.

God is still saying,

I’m choosing you, to help finish this job and I will give you everything needed…

And, oh yeah, in case you’re wondering, I will make it happen…

I just really, REALLY want you to be a part of it all with Me.”

My 4 year-old, Kian, absolutely loves helping me build anything and everything there is at the house. In fact, most of the time, “Daddy helped me make this…”

Last summer, I asked him to help me build the shelves in the garage to store everything (Sarah has this notion that the garage is for her van and not all my stuff – go figure!).

Kian really provides nothing, yet – it’s soooooo much better with him there. The conversation, the abundant joy when a piece is put together, the story he retells of his amazingly hard work and the wonderful thing he brought to life. I would rather it take twice as long with him there with me, just to have the connection and fun, than to get it done quicker by myself.

I know it’s going to get done – I know what it will look like – I fully realize I’m the one doing the work.

But the joy in the journey – that’s what this dad loves. I cannot emphasize it enough – listening to him talk so excitedly about what this is going to be and look like and be used for – it’s priceless. It’s what I love the most about it all.

So think about it – here’s this perfect Father who needs no one to help Him. He has this redemption plan that was crafted by the Trinity before the foundations of the world. And He takes great delight in you and I making it happen alongside Him. He is fine that our involvement actually slows it down and makes it messy sometimes.

Like when I ask Kian to give me one nail and 99 others go crashing to the floor.

The Father also loves to hear us joyfully retell our stories:

  • The crazy food we ate when they set charred chicks on a skewer in front of us or we ate goat’s head stew with the eyeballs as the prize meant for us.
  • When we talk about sleeping in mosquito nets on a dirt floor in a hut with no electricity.
  • How we braved stomach issues and humidity and no showers for 5 days.
  • How excited those kids were when we took a day in the middle of our summer to just play in bounce houses with them, make them hot dogs, and give away McDonald’s gift cards.
  • And on and on with the raging seas we went through to get to those people and talk to that one guy who was so lost – and lead him to Jesus.

The Father does all the work – the Holy Spirit draws that person towards Jesus, while empowering us to speak and share.

YET – this good, good Father loves hearing us tell the story of what we did.

If I, as a loving yet still in process dad, love hearing Kian talk about his shelf building, “How Much More” does my Father in Heaven delight and rejoice in you and I being a part of (and telling about) what are truly His redemption stories?

Love People – because you are loved by God, and He calls you in to see His redemption plan fulfilled.


Scott Frerking

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