Shoveling Neighbors


(I wrote this story for my Sunday school class of younger children. It’s meant to be acted out.) 

“The Two Neighbors That Needed to Shovel”

Once upon a time there were two neighbors, Harry and Joe.  Harry loved to take care of his yard and never let his grass get too long or the snow get too deep.  On the other hand, Joe was a “get around to it” kind of guy.  He never quite “got around” to mowing until the grass was very long and never got around to shoveling until he couldn’t get out of the driveway with his car.

(Ask for two volunteers to be “Harry” and “Joe”.)

One winter morning, Harry looked out his window… (Tell “Harry” to pretend to look out the window.), and said to his wife, “There is a little snow on the sidewalk and driveway.  I had better go shovel.”  And shovel he did!  (Have Harry pretend to shovel.)  There was very little snow, so in no time at all, he was stepping back into the house again saying to his wife, “Ah!  It feels good out there!  That fresh air really woke me up!”

Next door, Joe’s wife looked out the window and said to Joe, “There is a little snow on the sidewalk and driveway.  Don’t you think you should go out and shovel?”  Joe put his feet up on the couch… (Have Joe put his feet up.), and his hands behind his head (Have Joe put his hands behind his head.) and said, “Nah.  It will melt before long.”  Then Joe went back to drinking his coffee and reading the newspaper.

Sure enough, Joe was right.  The sun came out and the snow melted before the day was out.  Joe’s drive and sidewalk had some puddles, but the snow was gone.

A week or so later, Harry got up in the morning and looked out the window again.  (Remind “Harry” he is supposed to pretend he is looking out the window.)  He said, “It snowed in the night again.  We got a little more than last time.  I had better go shovel!”  True to his word, he put his coat on and out he went and shoveled.  (“Harry” should have it down by now, but if he forgets to pretend to shovel, remind him.)  It took Harry just slightly longer than the time before since there was a little more snow on the ground.  Soon he was stamping the snow off of his boots and stepping back into the house.  “Hoo-ee!”  He exclaimed!  There’s a little bite in the air today!  Winter is here to stay!”

Next door, Joe’s wife looked out the window and said to Joe, “It snowed in the night again.  We got a little more than last time.  Don’t you think you should go out and shovel?”  Joe got up from the couch and looked out the window, (Remind “Joe” to look out of the window.), and said, “Hmmm.  There can’t be more than an inch out there.  I think I can wait until I have more time.”  Then Joe went back to the couch, put his feet up and finished reading his newspaper.

Well, Joe was right in a way.  There wasn’t more than about an inch of snow on the drive, but when they drove their car over the snow, it packed it down until it made a hard, slippery surface that Joe’s wife slipped on a couple of times walking out to get the mail.

This is the way it went for the next three snowfalls.  As soon as it snowed, Harry would go outside and shovel.  Harry’s drive and sidewalk looked the same as ever.  It was clean and dry enough to ride a bike on, and Harry was getting stronger and stronger because of the shoveling.  On the other hand, Joe’s drive and sidewalks were slippery and rutted with dirty, hard, slippery snow.  Joe’s wife said, “Honey, if you don’t shovel soon, someone is going to fall!”  Joe answered his wife, “Dear, I am having no trouble getting out of the driveway and people should be careful walking in the winter anyway.”  Then he went back to the couch with a fresh cup of coffee and put his feet up.

It was just after Christmas, when the radio and television began to issue this warning.  “We have a Winter Storm Warning in effect.  We are expected to get up to 6 inches of snow by midnight and another 4-6 inches by morning. ”

Harry reached over and shut the radio off and said to his wife.  I had better get to bed.  I will need to be up early to get the drive and the sidewalk shoveled before I go to work.”

Joe turned off the radio and said to his wife.  “There is a really good program on tonight.  It will keep me up late, but that won’t be a problem.”  Joe’s wife just rolled her eyes.

The next morning, Harry was up by 5:00 am, had a good breakfast, bundled up and went out into the blowing snow and cleared away the snow they had gotten overnight.  (Harry shovel)  He was huffing and puffing a bit, and it took him 45 minutes to do it, but he was finished in plenty of time to pack his lunch and head for work.

Joe overslept.  His wife shook him awake and said, “Joe!  I don’t know if you will be able to get out of the driveway! We got a lot of snow last night and it has piled up on top of the old snow.”  Joe jumped out of bed and quickly dressed.  “No time to worry about it.  I’ll be late as it is!”  Joe threw his coat on without buttoning it, grabbed his cup of coffee and a cookie and ran to his car.  (‘Joe’ can pretend to run.)  Joe opened the garage door and the drifting snow blew in.  He threw the car onto reverse and roared down the drive, through the snow and slid out into the street.  Off to work he went.

It continued snowing throughout the day and by the time Joe got home from work; he got stuck over and over trying to get down his driveway and into the garage.  He said to his wife, “Honey, where is the shovel?”

Harry was already out shoveling the snow that had fallen throughout the day from his driveway when Joe came spinning his tires down his own driveway.  Harry just shook his head and kept on shoveling.  It was hard work, but Harry had gotten strong and had gotten used to the cold weather.  He didn’t mind the way the full shovel pulled on his back and he could throw each shovel of snow a long distance.

Joe was finally worried about the deep snow in his driveway.  Later, after much searching for a shovel, Joe went out into the freezing cold air and stood shivering, dreading the job ahead.  What he had failed to notice until now, was that his driveway was layered with hard packed snow that had been covered with heavy, fresh, deep snow.  It made him long for his warm house with its comfortable couch. He wanted nothing to do with shoveling.  He only wanted to go back inside and drink a cup of coffee and read his newspaper.  He sighed and stuck his shovel into the deep snow.  (‘Joe’ may be too interested in the story to pretend anymore, so just let him listen.)  “Ugh!” he grunted with each little shovel full.  He had gotten out of shape through the winter, so he could barely throw the snow far enough to get it to the side of the driveway.  “Ugh!” he grunted again and again as he struggled through the deep snow.  He just wasn’t getting enough shoveled to even make a path for the tires of his car.  His arms were getting heavy and burned with each shovel full.  His breath was getting shorter and he was gasping for air.  He started to feel weak in his knees and they began to wobble.  His ears and nose were getting frostbitten and his hands were cold and raw from the rough handle of the shovel.  He stuck his shovel deep into the snow again, but this time, when he threw the shovel full of snow, the shovel flew out of his hands and he fell face first into the snow and lay there.  His wife and his neighbor Harry came running to see if he was all right.  They helped him to roll onto his back, but he couldn’t get up!  He had thrown his back out with the shovel!  His wife had to call an ambulance and Joe was laid up for the rest of the winter. Not only that, but he also had to pay $100.00 to a man to plow his driveway; all because he had let the snow pile up deeper and deeper until it was more than he could handle.

The snow is a lot like the times we get angry with someone or sad or hurt.  If we don’t forgive whoever has hurt us right away, it piles up in our hearts like deep snow. Our hurts and anger get bigger and deeper and harder to get rid of until we are no longer able to be happy.  Just like Harry, every time we have a snowfall of a hurt or anger or sadness come into our heart, we must immediately forgive whoever has hurt us so that our heart can be clean and happy again. Some hurts are heavy, like a very deep snowfall and we need Jesus to help us to forgive the one that hurt us. Just ask Jesus to help you to forgive and he will and you can have a light, happy heart again. Remember, each of us has caused Jesus hurts, but he forgives us, so we need to forgive others the hurts they cause us. You will never regret forgiving someone, but you will always regret not forgiving, especially when the time comes that Jesus looks you in the eyes and shows you His nail scarred hands. Hands that were nailed to a cross for the forgiveness of the hurts you and I caused Him.

Nancy

Matthew 6:14,15 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

This Little Piggy


The Young Disciples Club

And

“This Little Piggy”

Featuring Jack:

Jack was one of the older boys in the Young Disciples Club. He hadn’t been in the club as long as some of the kids. He, his Mom and siblings had moved to town not too many years ago. His Mom had found a job at the local hospital and had to work a lot of hours to make ends meet. Jack was pretty quiet about his Dad. What he didn’t say spoke louder than what he did say. His friends learned not to ask him what his Dad had gotten him for his birthday, or if he would be going to his Dad’s for a visit over the summer, or if his Dad would maybe help him get a bicycle. For that matter, Jack was sort of quiet a lot of the time. It was like he had experienced a few too many disappointments already in his young life and it had sapped his youth of joy. He didn’t smile much, not with his eyes anyway and lately he had seemed withdrawn. Maybe that was why Jack had been on his youth leader, Pastor Ron’s heart so much lately.

Pastor Ron sat quietly at the top of the knoll, his bike in the grass beside him. He had ridden up to the look out some time ago. He wasn’t at all sure why, but he felt like he was waiting for something or someone. Earlier, God had seemed to drive him from his house and onto his bike and this was where he had found himself. It was a pleasant day with a soft warm breeze but Pastor Ron was not able to enjoy it. As he prayed, he became more and more troubled in his spirit. He had been praying at home, as he usually did, but as he prayed for each person that came to his heart, the boy Jack, from his Young Disciple Club kept coming back to his mind. Over and over again Ron’s heart would return to Jack in prayer until the uneasiness he felt in his spirit became more than he could bear. Ron recognized that Jesus was calling him to intercessory prayer for Jack. Pastor Ron had answered that call to prayer and though he called on the Name of Jesus and prayed with all of his might, the urgency would not lift.  He felt that unmistakable heaviness grow and he cried out to Jesus to intervene in whatever was happening in Jack’s life. Pastor Ron wrestled for Jack in prayer, crying out for Jesus to intercede in whatever was happening with Jack. The heaviness became almost unbearable until, finally; Pastor Ron felt his spirit lighten and the unmistakable Holy Presence of God swept over him. As he prayed on that little, grassy knoll, Pastor Ron knew that he had pressed through and had been granted an audience with the King of Kings. He felt as though he stood before the very Throne of Grace and he knew he could ask God to grant his petition.  He reverently bowed his head and spoke to his Friend Jesus. He said, “Jesus, I don’t know what is going on with this young man, but I know that you have placed this burden on my heart to pray for Jack and you know what the trouble is. I ask you, Lord Jesus, in your Precious Name to reveal the situation to me and give me your direction so that I can help him, in Jesus Name, I pray. Thank you Jesus, Mighty God!  Amen.” As Pastor Ron finished praying, a sweet peace settled across him. He wiped the tears from his eyes and and breathed in the soft, warm breeze. His prayer turned to a heartfelt praise and worship and he sat quietly for a time in silent meditation, thinking about the Goodness of God. In the quiet, mingled with the soft breeze, he heard footsteps climbing the other side of the knoll. He heard the unmistakable sound of someone dropping to the grass then the muffled sound of weeping. Soon the crying turned to loud, ragged sobs.  Pastor Ron stood and walked softly to the other side of the knoll where he found Jack, his hands covering his face, sobbing as only the broken in heart can cry. Ron lowered himself to Jack’s side quietly, softly resting his arm across Jack’s shoulders and began to pray. “Jesus, you know the trouble that this young man is sorrowing over. You know what is causing this heartache. You know the number of hairs on his head and his very thoughts. There is nothing hid from you, Lord. Oh, Balm of Gilead, we need your comfort.” Pastor Ron prayed until Jack wiped his eyes on his sleeve and looked up.  Pastor Ron grieved for the young man, wondering what could be weighing so heavily on him. He prayed silently, waiting for Jack to speak. Jack finally began to speak, uncertainly at first, trying to find the words to tell his youth leader what he had been unable to confide to anyone. The words started and stopped, at one point pouring out, at other times stammering, starting and stopping again. Finally, his youthful voice faded to a whisper, ashamed. Pastor Ron knew now why Jesus had put such a heavy burden to pray for Jack on his heart. He spoke softly to Jack.

“Jack, what you have been into, it is true, does not please God, but; you need to somehow get a hold of how great the mercy of God is. The Bible says in Proverbs 28:11 ‘He that covereth his transgressions shall not prosper: But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall obtain mercy.’ Jack, you have done just as the Bible has directed us to do. James 5:16 says, ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’ Now you need to talk to God again and claim that mercy and forgiveness He has offered us.  Psalms 41:4 says, ‘I said, O Jehovah, have mercy upon me: Heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.’

Jack turned his sorrowful eyes up to Pastor Ron and said with a shaky voice, “Pastor Ron, I have told Jesus how sorry I am and I’ve begged Him to help me but I keep having these thoughts jump into my head! I’ve tried everything but they keep coming back! I don’t know what to do anymore! I’m afraid I’ll be lost and I don’t want to be!”  Jack covered his face with his hands again as his tears silently fell.

Pastor Ron, reached out in his spirit to that Throne of Mercy again, searching for the right words for the broken youth sitting beside him. What came to him was an old song that he sang softly, “Create in me a clean heart, Oh Lord my God, and renew a right spirit within me. Create in me a clean heart, Oh Lord my God, and renew a right spirit within in me, within me.”

“Jack, the Bible says, in 2 Corinthians 7:10, ‘For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.’ Jack, you need to let that sorrow you’re feeling be ‘godly sorrow’, let it work toward repentance! This same portion of the Bible goes on to say in verse 11, ‘For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.’ Jack, do you love Jesus?”

Jack sat up a little straighter and said with great conviction, “With all my heart, Pastor Ron.”

Ron went on to ask, “Do you want to serve Him in holiness and live a life that pleases Him?”

Jack nodded his head vigorously, unable to speak as emotion started overwhelm him again.

Pastor Ron gripped Jack’s shoulder and looked him in the eye. “Jack, you don’t have to listen to the accuser. Romans 8:1 tells us, ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ You need what John 15:3-4 says, ‘Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you…’ That chapter goes on to say in verse 7, ‘If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’

Jack, you are fighting a spiritual battle right now, but you have Jesus at your side and the sword of the spirit at your hand. Philippians 2:5 says, ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:’ submit your thoughts to Jesus and fill your head with the Word of God. Jesus has already paid the price, so like 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, ‘But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Pastor Ron stood up, holding his hand out to Jack to pull him to his feet. “Come on Jack. Let’s thank God for His mercy and His loving kindness toward us.”

Jack smiled the first big, real smile Pastor Ron had seen for a long time and raised his hands toward heaven and praised God with the liberty that only comes from a forgiven heart.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This story was written to ask you; Do you have something in your life that you have tried and tried to shake, but just can’t seem to? Jesus is able to deliver us of anything, anything, anything. Find a quiet place to sit and talk to Him. Tell Him everything; hold nothing back, confess it to Him; tell Him every detail. Talk to Him even about the things you tell no one about. Talk to Him about the things you don’t really want to talk about. Confess to Him every detail; even those things you wish you could forget. Tell Jesus you are sorry you have sinned and grieved Him. Ask Him to forgive you. Ask Jesus to cleanse you. Ask Jesus put you back on the Potter’s Wheel again and remake you into the person He meant for you to be. If you haven’t been baptized in Jesus Name, you need to be.  Acts 2:38-41 says, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

If you need the name of an apostolic church near you, look at the web site: http://www.upci.com/churchLocator/default.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Then don’t settle for just having your sins forgiven and washed away. You need the Holy Ghost to live a victorious life. Most likely you will receive the Holy Ghost when you are baptized. Ask for a Bible study while you are at it. There is nothing like living your life in the power of the Holy Ghost. Check it out today!

Nancy

(I may post some other stories I’ve written. We’ll see.)

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