Strawberries, Rollie-Pollies and the Gospel
It is not every day that a visit to the doctor brings news that more bloodtests must be done. Such was my day today. So, while I await the results, Lord willing next week, and trust in my Loving Heavenly Father with whatever the result, I continue to do what God has called me to do: be a good wife, serve faithfully in my vocation (professor) and love my neighbor as myself. This is where God showed me His own love for me today; in the garden with a young boy who wanted to earn some money to buy a toy (our neighbor’s son).
As we worked to weed the garden he picked clover out of the corn and onions while I picked the grass out of the strawberry patch and found some ripe strawberries that I’d missed when picking earlier in the day. He filled the bucket with weeds and I filled another with the berries. When we had finished we sat down to sort through the berries with the not so perfect ones being set aside as treats for the chickens. Some of these looked beautiful until we examined them and found Rollie Pollie (Pill Bug) holes in them. To my utter surprise God would use those particular strawberries to be able to explain sin to this young boy.
He began to chat with me about a girl in his class who told him that God was coming back and would destroy the world and be very angry with everyone. He not only seemed scared but he said that he was. Earlier he had noticed my necklace which has a Lutheran Rose on it.
He started to ask about it again and when I spoke of God needing to die on the cross in the center, his interest piqued even more. He asked if God made him? Was God really angry? Why did God have to die?
Enter the strawberries and rollie pollies. As we were sorting I pulled out the ones with holes and explained to him that we won’t eat them since they’re ruined…like us people. I shared creation with him and he wondered if God needed a magic wand to make everything. I shocked him by telling him that God made everything just by speaking it. His face lit up that God was more powerful and didn’t need magic.
Then on to Adam and how God molded him out of clay and then breathed into Adam and he was alive. Then he asked, but what happened? Nothing is perfect like you said it was. So, enter Eve and how they disobeyed God, tried to hide from Him because they knew they had sinned (had to explain this to him) but how God still loved them.
Rollie Pollie-eaten strawberries were a great example of how sin destroys what was once good and that this is what sin did to us so that our hearts are “yucky” and need to be fixed. But, just like we can’t fix the strawberries ourselves, because we’re not God, God needed to fix our hearts so they weren’t “yucky” anymore.
Enter a perfect strawberry as the example of Jesus who was perfect; he didn’t kick his siblings, lie, disobey or steal…ever. Wide-eyed he listened to every word. Explaining the Cross he wondered why Jesus would have to die when he didn’t do anything wrong. I shared how Jesus took all the “yuck” we do and was punished so that we wouldn’t have to be and that if we believe Jesus did this that He would give us a new heart.
Then I shared how Jesus didn’t stay dead. To his amazement he listened to how Jesus was not a ghost but actually came back and was alive and flesh and bone just like us and how when Jesus comes back, because He promised to and since He is perfect He would never lie to us, it would be the most awesomest day ever. He was amazed that God loves us so much that He would die so we wouldn’t be punished for the “rollie pollies in our hearts”.
I have often said that God gives us opportunities to share His Gospel of Love and Forgiveness in ways and with people and places we don’t expect; so be ready for them. Never in my life did I think strawberries and rollie-pollies would open the door wide for the Gospel with our young neighbor.