The Youngest Disciple


When was the last time you took an intentional play day and ventured outside, smelling the flowers and listening to the birds? What if playing was a form of worship? I looked up the origin of the word “play,” and this is what I read: to leap for joy, dance, rejoice and be glad. S. is the picture of play, and I got to spend a Saturday afternoon learning life lessons from an eight-year-old. We headed out into the sunshine to talk and hang around in the magnolia tree where she taught me to relax, enjoy the day, and play a little.

S. explained how she is building her own life story and if you read the Bible, it will tell you how to accomplish this since God gives you everything you need in those stories. He does this because He loves us and if you do the wrong things, you may think it only affects you, but there are consequences for everything. S.’s advice to me was to trust God no matter what, and if you feel something terrible is going to happen, know that God will protect you. She wonders how Jesus could love us so much since we put thorns on His head and a cross on His back. The Easter story is her favorite, and she also likes the stories about Moses.

I asked her what it means to follow Jesus, and she said it’s about how you treat people, it’s standing up for kids who are being bullied, it’s giving someone a helping hand when they need it, it’s working at Kairos Kitchen and being generous with your time. She also said you shouldn’t be afraid of getting baptized, although she did say the water was cold, and that everyone needs to know that God loves them and will be with them always.

When we finished talking and tree climbing, we went back in to greet the Kairos guests, serve them, and clean up. I thought about our conversation and how such a young girl could have so much to teach us. My favorite thing she told me was about kindness, she said if everyone would be kind to just one person, we could change the world. She may be a bubble gum chewing, roller skating, fast runner, who makes straight A’s, and has a dog named Ginger. She is also a disciple of Jesus, well on her way to changing the world.

Story and photo by Michelle Holland