“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV)
Jireh loves to play around in the kitchen while I am cooking. Sometimes I give him a box of dried beans and some spoons, or he would push a tablecloth around the floor, pretending to clean it. I love that we have a spacious kitchen (old flat!) and that I can watch him and talk to him while I chop, cook and clean.
But one thing I don’t love that much is the oven right under my stove, right smack at… that’s right… Jireh’s level. He likes to go really close to it and stare at his reflection in the shiny glass door. Or he grabs the bar across the door and does some ballerina-warm-up-ish movements. It’s just one of the more fascinating things at his eye-level in the kitchen and most of the time that’s fine.
Except when I am baking… at 180 degrees! Then I put a rug on the floor, and a stool in front of the oven to block his way. I make sure he doesn’t wander around the oven because he might absent-mindedly back into the stool and crash into the hot oven. And thankfully, for some inexplicable toddleresque reason, he’s really good at listening to my warnings to not go near the oven when it’s hot. He even has this “oops-I-am-too-near-look” when I go “Careful Jireh”, then he carefully tiptoes around the rug and move somewhere else.
So the other day while I was baking cornbread for dinner, we did this whole hovering-round-the-oven operation again. And once when he was really curious about what’s cooking inside, I stopped my chopping, squatted down and looked him in the eye: “Jireh, that’s HOT. It’s DANGEROUS. Don’t touch it ok? Can you obey Mama?” He did and went back to his spoons.
Satisfied that he’s safe, I went back to my chopping. But I continued with another lesson I never prepared: “Jireh do you know why the oven is hot? It’s a warning for us not to go near it or we might get burned. God is so kind to give us warnings about dangerous things! When we want to do something wrong, he gives us warnings too. His Holy Spirit tells us it is wrong and helps us not to go near it! We should thank God for warnings huh?”
He’s not listening and I know that, and I always laugh to myself when I do one of these monologues. But you know what, I am the one who needs the practice telling him about God so that when he does listen and when he does understand I would hopefully be a faithful storyteller, teaching him to love God in all of life!