Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Peter Langbroek
On a Saturday Afternoon in February
"Daddy, you're hurting the plant!"

From the top rung of the stepladder, Dad looked down at Grace, his six-year old daughter. She looked cute, even when she frowned at him. Her hands were on her hips, as she stood, dressed in a light green coat and light purple gum boots. He tried not to laugh as his blonde-haired daughter's light blue eyes pierced at him.

"Grace, I'm not hurting the plant. I want this plant to give us grapes for snacks, juice, and grape jelly in the Fall. I need to trim the big branches so sun will shine into the plant to make the gapes ripen," he said as he snipped another branch with his pruning shears.

Grace seemed satisfied with Dad's explanation and went off to play with the branches Dad dropped on the ground.

On a Saturday Afternoon in May
"Why are you cutting those branches, Daddy?"

From the top rung of the stepladder, Dad looked down at Grace. She had a puzzled look on her face. Her button nose was crunched up and her eyes narrowed. She was wearing a light purple shirt and a light green jumper.

"I'm cutting the branches that won't give any fruit," Dad explained as he climbed down the ladder.

"Here, I'll show you. You climb up ahead of me."

Grace climbed up to the second last rung, and Dad pulled a branch from the vine that had grown over the trellis behind the house.

"Look at this branch." Dad pulled another branch. "Now, look at this branch. Do you see anything different?"

Grace studied each branch. Then she noticed. "That branch," she pointed, "has little green balls on it."

"The other branch doesn't," Dad added. "If I don't cut off this branch, the branch will crowd the good branches and keep the sun from getting at the branches with the balls on it. Those balls are going to ripen into grapes." Dad cut the branch that didn't show any fruit. Then he trimmed the branch that would give fruit.

On a Saturday Night Before Grace Went to Sleep
This time Dad was going to tuck Grace in bed instead of Mom. Grace lay in bed wearing her light purple pajamas. Dad had a Bible instead of the Children's Story Bible, and his book on gardening.

"Tweetie (Grace's nickname), I'm going to read from the Bible. Remember how I pruned the grapes?"

"Yeah."

The Bible says we're like the branches on the grape vine. The vine is like Jesus. Dad opened the gardening book at the page on grapes. He pointed to a picture of a grape plant. "Look at that big branch coming out of the ground. That's a vine. And all those attached to the vine are branches. We're like those branches. Do you remember why I cut one branch out and trimmed the other?"

"So the little balls would become big juicy grapes!"

"Yes, and that's the way God deals with us. When we trust in Jesus, we will do what Jesus wants us to do. We will be like a branch that gives fruit. But if we don't trust Jesus and live in Him, we will not give fruit. God warns us that we will be cut off from Jesus. I'm going to read John 15:1-12. Listen well." (Boys and girls, get your Bible out now and read what Dad read to Grace!)

Dad finished reading. They prayed together. Dad gave Grace a big hug and a kiss. "Good night, Tweetie. I love you!"

"Love you too, Dad!"

"Sleep tight; don't let the bedbugs bite."

On a Saturday Afternoon in September
"Hold the basket while I cut the grapes, Grace!" Dad said while he reached for a big cluster of grapes.

On a Sunday at Breakfast in November
Dad just finished spreading butter on his slice of toast. "Please pass the grape jelly, Tweetie," he said, winking at her.

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