As I mentioned on my last Milo & Zeke post, I’m telling stories before the teaching time in our church’s Awana club. This installment is from a couple of weeks back.
Section 1.4 – God is Love
Best for Last
When Milo said, “Sometimes, loving another person means doing what’s best for him or her, even if it means that we won’t get the best for ourselves,” Zeke squirmed uncomfortably in his chair. Not because he didn’t like Sunday school. Because Milo was his most best favorite part of church. But because Zeke knew all about not getting the best stuff.
You see, Zeke was a little brother. He’d been one ever since before he could remember on account of being the fourth boy in the Pomeroy family. Most of the time, it wasn’t so bad. Older brothers were expected to be responsible and generous and helpful and stuff. Nobody expected anything like that from Zeke.
Beau was his big brother, and he was okay. He wasn’t grabby or pushy or anything, but he was real particular about his books and his computer. So even though Zeke shared a room with him, he wasn’t allowed to touch anything on Beau’s desk. Which was too bad, because books made good race car ramps. And computers were lots of fun so long as you didn’t accidentally spill a whole glass of root beer on them. That one time was totally on accident.
Neil was Zeke’s big-big brother, and he could be really cool. Neil played football and did dares and laughed loud and all kinds of other things that Zeke liked, too. But his big-big brother was also the worst tease and the hungriest person in the whole universe. It was mostly Neil’s fault when the cookie jar was empty or the last piece of pizza disappeared.
And then there was Zeke’s big-big-big brother Tad, who was mostly grown up since he was graduated from high school and got to be a farmer like their Grandpa Pete. Tad was the best at being responsible and generous and helpful and stuff, but he’d had lots of practice because he was oldest. Tad was best at tying knots for rope swings in the barn, which was the best thing about rainy days. But having Tad was almost like having a second Dad, because Zeke’s big-big-big brother knew all the family rules real good. And if Zeke was even thinking about breaking one, Tad seemed to know … and made Zeke stop.
Yep. Being a little brother usually meant bossing and hand-me-downs and waiting for everyone else’s leftovers. And the time when Zeke noticed it most was on Sundays.
After class, Milo tapped his shoulder and asked, “Everything okay, Zeke?”
His teacher’s eyebrows went up. “Want to talk about it?”
“Yep. Only not now. I gotta hurry.”
Milo, who was very good at understanding what was most important to nine-year-old boys, simply waved and said, “Enjoy!”
Zeke’s most best favorite part of Sunday was definitely Milo.
And second favorite would have to be the Sundays when his church had a potluck dinner after church. Because there was always lots of food, like five kinds of jello salads and ten kinds of dessert. And after the food was gone, Zeke’s parents stuck around until the pastor was ready to lock the doors, which gave Zeke all kinds of time to play with his best friend Jasper.
Hide and seek with the lights off in the sanctuary.
Swings and slides in the playground out under the pine trees.
Or sometimes football with the big kids, if Neil was feeling generous and helpful.
But this week wasn’t a potluck Sunday.
This week was an in-between Sunday, and that meant doughnuts.
On doughnut days, the kitchen ladies put out box after box of doughnuts—glazed, chocolate frosted, maple glazed, sugar-coated. Some would have swirled colors in the icing. And sometimes they had nuts or crumble or sprinkles.
It was awesome.
The only problem was … Zeke wasn’t the only one who thought so.
Those doughnuts went fast.
Big kids with long arms always got first grabs. So by the time Zeke got to the table, half the boxes were empty. Not that leftovers were bad on doughnut days. But it sure would have been nice to have first pick.
Hoping for the best. Zeke charged up the stairs and got in line. The line was moving slow, and he went up on tiptoe to see what the hold-up was … and sighed. You see, Zeke might have been the fourth boy in the Pomeroy household, but he wasn’t the last.
Zeke had a little brother. And Jude was sort of holding up the line.
Only people weren’t waiting for him to pick. Jude was little, and so they just reached over his head or around his shoulders and took what they wanted. Even though Jude was there before them.
When Zeke got to the doughnut table, he said, “Something wrong, Jude?”
His little brother blinked up at him and whispered, “I can’t reach.”
“Didja ask for help?”
Jude shook his head, then asked, “Can you reach?”
Zeke looked where he was pointed, and his heart sank. Because there was only one doughnut with blue frosting and sprinkles left, and Jude wanted it, too.
And it was almost like Milo was talking again. Because Zeke remembered what he’d said at the end of their lesson on God being love. “Sometimes, loving another person means doing what’s best for him or her, even if it means that we won’t get the best for ourselves.”
Zeke knew exactly what it was like, being the little brother.
So instead of taking what he wanted and running outside to play, he carefully put the last doughnut with blue frosting and sprinkles on a plate gave it to Jude.
His little brother beamed at him and shuffled off toward the tables to sit with Grandpa Pete.
As Zeke chose the next-best doughnut for himself, he wondered if this made him even a little bit responsible and generous and helpful and stuff. Maybe according to Jude, his big-big-big-big brother Tad was a farmer, his big-big-big brother Neil was a football player, his big-big brother Beau was a bookworm, and his big brother Zeke was best of all.
Because sprinkles were probably the next best thing to love.
Ephesians 2:4–5 – But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).
Expect more Awana-inspired Milo & Zeke posts in the near future. For other stories about our favorite mailman and one-boy mischief machine …