Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Mrs. Doreen Tamminga
It is a warm fall day, and the sun is shining brightly through the coloured leaves. A breeze blows through the yard every once in a while, scattering dry leaves across the driveway. In the corner of the driveway sits a boy. He looks to be about eight or nine years old, and sitting so quietly, you would hardly notice him, except for his feet pushing up gravel into a pile before him. The smoky smell of leaves being burned can be smelled in the air, and it is the kind of weather that you wish for every Saturday--the kind of weather that makes you want to go for a bike ride, or take a walk down to the creek and dabble in the water, skipping stones and balancing your way across logs.

With the deep blue sky all around and the golden sun beaming down, it is the kind of weather that makes your dog bounce up the moment you open the door, eager for you to take him on a tramp through the woods. At least, this is what Clarence thinks. But there he sits in the corner of the driveway, getting dusty from stirring up the gravel. Why is he sitting there then? ItÕs late afternoon and thereÕs not much time left for all those things he wants to do. But still he sits, stirring the stones up into a pile and poking the pile with a stick. After a few minutes, he picks up the spade at his side and begins hacking at a dandelion weed that has grown in deep below the gravel.

The back door swings open and bangs shut. A little boy comes flying out with a dog at his heels. ÒHey, Clarence!Ó he shouts, ÒArenÕt Ôcha gonna come biking with me? MeÕn Russel are goinÕ tÕ the creek anÕ see if we kin cetch some tadpoles!Ó

ÒThere arenÕt any tadpoles in October,Ó Clarence grumps at his little brother. ÒAnd I ainÕt cominÕ.Ó Russel trots over to where Clarence is sitting and with eagerly wagging tail, snuffles his nose against ClarenceÕs neck. Clarence pushes the dog away.

ÒHow come?Ó his little brother Tim asks, wheeling his bike out of the garage.

ÒI got to pull weeds out of the driveway,Ó Clarence answers.

ÒWerenÕt cha supposeta do that yesterday after school?Ó Tim asks. ÒMa said itÕd be real easy Ôcause it just rained and the ground was so soft then.Ó

ÒWell I wanted to play hockey after school with the other guys, so Ma said I could pull them today if I wanted to. But now they wonÕt come out.Ó Clarence sighs and gets up on his feet. ÒI only got one corner done, and itÕs almost supper time. IÕm never gonna get done.Ó

ÒWell, yaÕd better hurry up. DadÕs gonna be home soon and he said weÕd have a game of catch after supper,Ó Tim advises Clarence. ÒYa wonÕt be allowed to play if ya arenÕt done. Come on, Russ!Ó he calls to the dog. ÒLetÕs go!Ó

Clarence watches with envy as Tim goes biking down the driveway with Russ bounding along at his side. Wish I could go to the creek, he thinks. But IÕve got a million more weeds to pull. IÕm never gonna get done. TheyÕre so hard to get out! Wish IÕd listened to Mom and pulled them out yesterday, after the rain Ð they came out real easy then. And hockey wasnÕt much fun anyways. With a sigh, Clarence picks up the spade and begins digging around another weed.

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You may sometimes hear a Sunday school story or a Bible lesson at school that makes you stop and think. Or you may be listening to the Bible reading at home, and suddenly you realize that you are just like the person in the story. You have done some of the same sins that they have done, you see that you have the same bad heart as they had, and you need the same Saviour that they needed. This is the LordÕs work. He shows you the sin in your heart. He shows you that you are sometimes unkind, jealous, selfish, unfair, complaining, lazy, proud, careless, or disobedient.

What do you do when you see your sin? Do you confess them and repent of them? Or are you like Clarence and think that another day would be better for pulling weeds? You think, ÒNot right now. I just want to finish my book or play a game with everyone else; I donÕt want to leave and go up to my room by myself. Maybe IÕll confess my sins to God tonight when I go to bed, or maybe on Sunday when I have more time. Maybe IÕll ask for forgiveness later when I havenÕt been so bad.Ó And you quickly forget about these sins that God showed you. Soon you start thinking, ÒIÕm not so bad after all! IÕm a pretty nice boy or girl, compared to other kids my age. I donÕt have to confess my sins to God. IÕll just thank Him for all the good things He gives me, instead.Ó

But do you know what happens to these sins when you leave them and donÕt confess them to God? The same thing that happens to the weeds in the driveway. They grow deeper and tougher, and harder to pull out. Right after the rain has fallen and softened the ground, the weeds lose their grip on the ground and are easiest to pull out. And in the same way, when the Lord shows us our sins and makes us sorry for them, that is the best time for us to confess them and repent. That is the time to ask God to stop us from doing them again. If you wait until later, your heart will grow hard again, just like the ground grows hard once the rain stops and the sun comes out. Pray, then, that the Lord will make your heart soft, that He will show you your sins. Then confess your sins to Him, tell Him of your sorrow over them, and ask Him to help you not to sin, for He is ready to hear you.

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