The Winter Water Hazard

The Winter Water Hazard

By: S.C. Mathisen

“Come on Johnny, let’s go! I want to skate on the old pond today. We’re only here in Millville visiting my grandparents for a week.” Susie said trying to encourage her friend Johnny to hurry into his coat, hat and mittens.  

“I am hurrying, Susie” Johnny said sounding like he was already out of breath.

He had already put on two extra sweaters, long johns and an extra set of wool socks and was bent over trying to reach the laces of his hi-top insulated winter boots and just barely reaching them. Between the extra layers of clothing and the extra layers of Johnny’s round stomach, the laces were almost out of his reach. But he finally did get them and was now finishing up the final knot on his right boot.

“There, I’ve got the boots laced up. All I need to do now is to put on my hat and scarf and coat and get my mittens on. You can never be too careful out in winter weather. Especially here in upper Minnesota! It’s really cold up here!”

“Great, now let’s go. We want to get out there and get back before it gets dark.” Susie said in eager anticipation.

When Johnny was finally ready, they headed for the back door. Johnny detoured slightly to pick up a handful of oatmeal raisin cookies, wrap them carefully in a napkin and put them in one of his over large coat pockets.

After going out the door and walking across the wide driveway, they passed the barn and followed a path that took them across the cornfields plowed under after the harvest. The sky was a dull, steely gray and the ground was covered with white frost and. They could see each breath they took. They talked excitedly about how much fun it was going to be to skate on a real frozen pond instead of the ice rink they practiced on back home in Crescent City.

After walking across fields for a time, the path led into what looked like a small bunch of trees.

“I think the pond is just on the other side of these trees,” said Susie.

“Wow, it sure is farther than I thought it would be,” said Johnny as he slowed down to look up and around at all the tall trees.

“Come on Johnny, keep up!  It’s starting to snow.”

“I’m coming. I was just noticing how weird it is in here with all these trees covered in snow.”

“Yup, but we should be out of the woods in a couple of minutes if we walk fast.”

“Walk fast, that’s a really good idea. It’s kinda creepy in here. The snow is starting to come down real hard, the sky is getting to be a real dark gray and it’s getting hard to see.” 

Johnny picked up the pace and started walking really fast. He began walking so fast Susie had trouble keeping up with him. The only sound was their feet rapidly crunching in the new fallen snow.

After several minutes of walking, taking different turns to follow what Susie thought was the path, she said with a little quiver in her voice, “Johnny, does it seem like it’s getting darker instead of lighter?” 

“Y-y-yes. I was hoping you wouldn’t notice and get scared. Why do you think I’m walking so fast?”

“Maybe we should turn around and go back,” said the quivering voice.

Johnny stopped suddenly and pointed toward his left, “look there’s a clearing over there. Maybe we should go that way.”

“Well, Ok.”

Johnny turned to his friend and said, “I thought you knew your way around on this farm. You should be the one giving directions. Are you lost?”

Susie looked around with a puzzled look on her face, “I thought I knew the way. I just don’t remember the woods taking this long to get through. I might be a little confused.”

“Oh great, you’re lost. And if you’re lost I’m lost too. Can you find your way back out of here?”

Trying to sound braver and more confident than she really felt Susie said “Sure, we just go back the way we came.”

“Right, we took so many twists and turns on the way here, I lost track of where we came from. I bet you did too!” 

“I think I know what we need to do.”

“So do I, we need to pray. God know where we are and He can keep us safe.”

Susie smiled broadly, “That’s right Johnnie. He can and He will!”

Johnny began, “Lord, you know where we are and how to get us out of here. Please show us the way out.”

Susie joined in, “Yes Jesus, please help us to find our way out.”

They both said together “Amen!” 

Johnny then turned and looked all the way around him said with a more determined tone, “Let’s head toward gap in the trees over there. If we can get out of these woods, I’m sure we can get back to the farm house.”

Susie, immediately perked up and said, “Ok Johnny, lead on.”

So off they went. Johnny led and Susie followed closely behind him. After a bit they were walking shoulder to shoulder. Each time one stepped on and snapped a fallen twig or branch they both jumped slightly and moved closer together. 

Twenty minutes later at the edge of the forest, the sky had cleared and they found themselves in very bright sunlight standing on an overhang that looked down over the valley that contained Susie’s grandparents farm. They could see the farmhouse and barn in the distance.

“Wow! That sun is bright!” said Johnny, shielding his eyes. “How did we end up all the way over here?”

“I don’t know but I guess we walked farther than we thought. Look! There’s the old pond down there,” said Susie pointing off to her right and her familiar smile returning to her face.

“Wow! Somehow we managed to walk completely around it and end up all the way up here.”

“How do we get down there? I sure don’t want to go back the way we came.”

Johnny then pointed to the right but lower than Susie had, “It looks like there’s a trail over there that might take us down there. All we have to do is to follow this overhang till we get to it.”

Beaming at Johnny, Susie said, “Well? What are we waiting for?”

“I think we need to thank God for getting us out of the forest.” 

“That’s right, Johnnie, we do. Let’s do it now.”

Once again they joined in prayer. “Thank you, Lord for bringing us out of the forest.  Now help us to get back to the farm safely.” They looked at each other and both said, “Amen!”

So off they went walking along the edge of the overhang and sometimes hanging onto tree branches to keep their balance. 

Just as they approached the trail, they realized that they would have to cross a shallow, but wide and mostly frozen over creek to get to it.

After looking at the creek Johnny turned to Susie and said, “Whoa! That looks too wide to jump.”

Susie began craning her neck looking up and downstream to see if there was another spot they could cross. “The underbrush is too thick to try anywhere else. It looks like we have to cross here or go back through the woods.”

Just then Johnny spotted a low branch hanging over the creek. “You know, we might be able to grab that branch and swing across.” 

Before Susie could respond, Johnny had jumped up to grab the branch. He got a hold of it and began to swing but couldn’t hold on all the way across. He dropped onto the icy creek bed and his feet immediately began to slide downstream. 

Susie watched in horror as Johnny began to fall and reached out to catch him but only succeeded in grabbing his coat pocket. That grip on Johnny pulled her off balance toward the creek bed and she fell toward him. 

Soon the two of them were sliding down the iced over creek bed like it was a bobsled course. Johnny was feet first with Susie still gripping his pocket going down headfirst. 

They careened downhill at getting faster by the minute, all the time bouncing off of the creek sides until they eventually shot out of the creek bed and across the old pond. At that point, they began spinning around like cartwheels. 

They eventually came to a stop near the far side of the creek where they sat up and tried to get their bearings. Johnny was just about to speak up when they heard a familiar voice, “If you two are done with your ice dancing, maybe you’d like a ride back to the house.”

They looked up to see Susie’s Grampa Johnny with his horse drawn wagon at the edge of pond chuckling. Susie and Johnny looked at each other and then they began to laugh too. 



The Best Christmas Present Ever

This is a script I wrote  a decade or so ago for Sunday School. The formatting did not come across right, but I hope you enjoy it.

* * *

The Best Christmas Present Ever

By: S.C. Mathisen

Narrator:        One weekend, Susie and Stanley were spending the weekend with their Grandparents. Grammie was busy elsewhere in the house. Grandpa was in the kitchen whipping up a batch of his world famous oatmeal raisin cookies. The two kids have been trying to decide what would be the best Christmas present to get.

Stanley:        But Susie, I still think that a complete collection of Tonka trucks would be the best ever. Just think of all the dirt you could move!!

Susie:        Oh yeah, and you know how mom feels about all that dirt. Now what I think is that new Barbie doll with all of her stuff like the big house that looks like a castle & cars & boats & clothes…wow, that would be great!!

Stanley:        But that’s girl stuff!!

Susie:        Yes and trucks are boy stuff. We gotta think of something that anybody would like.

Stanley:        How about computer games? Remember that game where you had to find things, and it took us nearly a week of looking together to find everything?? That was fun, and we both like it.

Susie:        Yes, that’s true, and we both played with the Legos and Lincoln Logs. I made a doll house out them, and you built a fort.

Stanley:        But maybe older kids & grownups wouldn’t like that stuff as much as we would.

Susie:        You’re right, Stanley. Hmm, what would ANYBODY like to get…???

Stanley:        Hey! Maybe we could ask Grampa. He could help us figure it out.

Together:        Yeah!!!

Both kids jump up and rush into the kitchen . . .

Together:        Grampa!!!

Grampa looks up from his cookie mix . . .

Grampa:        Hey there kiddos! How are my two favorite grandchildren?

Together:        Grampa! We’re you’re only grandchildren.

Grampa:        Well, that doesn’t change the fact that you are my two favorite grandchildren in the whole wide world. Now, what is it that you two want? The world famous oatmeal raisin cookies have not even gone in the oven yet. I was just tasting the dough to make sure I haven’t left anything out.

Susie:        Grampa! They are not cooked yet! Ewww!! Yuck!!

Licking his lips & fingers . . .

Stanley:        I don’t know, Susie, this tastes kind of good. This would go great with ice cream Grampa!

Grampa:        What was it you guys wanted anyway??

Stanley:        Oh, yeah . . . we wanted you to help us figure something out.

Susie:        That’s right. We have been trying to figure out what the best ever Christmas present would be. Stanley thinks that it would be Tonka trucks & stuff. I think that it would be all the new Barbie dolls & stuff. Then we thought about computer games that we could both play or Lego’s or Lincoln Logs or—

Grampa:        Whoa there little one, I got the idea. Why don’t the two of you sit down at the table there while I put this first tray of my world famous oatmeal raisin cookies in the oven? We’ll talk while they are baking & maybe we can sample them fresh out of the oven.

Both kids:        All Right!!!

Grampa:        Now let me get this oven door open, put this tray in, make sure that the temperature is just right and set the timer. Good! All done! Now, let’s talk about this present thing. I don’t think that you kids are thinking big enough. Let’s think about the best present ever given. Not just the Christmas type. I seem to remember a story that starts like this.

A long time ago, far, far away, back during the time when God had just created the earth. He had just finished making all of the animals and fish and plants & trees. He said that all of this is good, but . . . He then took some mud and created Adam. (I think that is why boys like dirt so much.) When Adam was awake and had looked around a little bit, God asked him to name all the animals. Well, that took awhile, but, after Adam was done, he was a little lonely. All of the animals had males and females. They had someone to spend time with and talk with and stuff, but…Adam didn’t. God knew that this was making Adam sad. So, He put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs and made Eve. She was a present from God to Adam. God then gave the whole world to Adam and Eve to rule over and be masters of. That was a pretty big present if you ask me.

Well, pretty soon Adam and Eve messed up and sinned against God. This pretty much messed up everything all around. They got kicked out of the garden that God had planted for them to live in and they had to work hard every day just to survive. Sin had been brought into the world by their disobedience, and the world has been a mess ever since.


But, even as God was kicking them out of the garden, He made a promise that one day He would send someone to do something about the mess that they made.

Well, a lot of time passed, and God gave lots of presents to His people. Sometimes the presents were people to help them out when they were in trouble like Noah and Moses. Sometimes He gave them food and water where there wasn’t any like when the children of Israel were wandering in the desert for 40 years. God fed them twice a day.

When they got to the Chosen Land, He helped them take control of it and get settled. He sent people called Judges to help them when they forgot about God and got themselves in trouble. He gave them a king when they wanted one. When they were taken into captivity after forgetting about God again for a long time, He sent them Daniel and kept him from getting eaten in the lions den. He sent them Queen Esther to keep them from getting killed by the evil Haman. He brought them back to Israel when He said that He would and even after they were conquered by the Romans. The finally time came for the best present of all.

There was a young girl named Mary we talked about her before, do you remember? Do you remember how when the angel told her that she was going to become pregnant, and she said that couldn’t be because she was not married and the angel told her that all things are possible with God? She told the angel that it was ok with her because it was going to be from God. Do you also remember that she did get married, and she and her husband Joseph had to travel all the way to Bethlehem because the Roman Caesar wanted to count everyone? And then there was no room at the inn, and they had to sleep in the stable? And then angels appeared to some shepherds to tell them that a wonderful thing was about to happen?  Do you remember what the angel said?

“But the angel said to them, do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

The angels were talking about Jesus. He was the one that God promised to Adam and Eve that would clean up the mess that they had made. Jesus came to clean us and take away all of our sins by dying on the cross for us.

Jesus is the best Christmas present ever.

Stanley:        Wow Grampa! That’s really cool. I never thought of it that way before.

Susie:        That’s right Stanley, and now because we have asked Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Saviour, we can go to heaven when we die and live for Him while we are alive.

Stanley:        And we can pray to Him when we feel lonely or scared or for just any old reason.

Grampa:        That’s right kids. I think that you understand really well. Oops, the timer just went off. Who wants some of my fresh hot world famous oatmeal raisin cookies???

Stanley:        Grampa, do you think that it would be a good idea to tell our friends about Jesus being the best Christmas present ever? I was thinking about telling my friend Whitney and maybe Johnnie.

Grampa:        I think that would be the best idea that anyone could ever have.

Susie:        That’s right! If we tell other people about it, it would be like giving them the best Christmas present ever, and we could give it to everyone we know!! Like I could tell my friend Cherry!

Grampa:        That’s right Susie and you too Stanley. Stanley, could you get the milk from the refrigerator? Susie, could you get some small plates. I think that you two will need some milk and cookies before you go & tell all of you friends about Jesus and ask them to accept God’s Best Christmas Present ever.

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The Story of When Jesus Calls Peter with Stanley

Mr. Mathisen:             Boys and girls, this morning we are going to tell the story of when Jesus calls the the Apostle Peter. Who can tell me who Peter was?

Stanley:                       Ooh, Ooh, ooh…I know, I know!

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, do you really know who Peter was?

Stanley:                       Sure, sure, he was the cut off the guy’s ear in the garden when the soldiers were arresting Jesus.

Mr. Mathisen:             Well, that is true but we are going to talk about another time before Peter was a follower of Jesus. Do you know what Peter did before he was an apostle?

Stanley:                       Umm…..was he a carpenter?

Mr. Mathisen:             No…does anyone else know what Peter did before he was an apostle?

Stanley:                       Wait! Don’t I get another guess?

Mr. Mathisen:             Okay, go ahead and try again.

Stanley:                       Ummm…was he a mailman?

Mr. Mathisen:             No, Stanley he was not a mailman. Let me give you a hint.

Stanley:                       Ok, I like hints.

Mr. Mathisen:             When today’s story starts, he is on the beach cleaning some fish nets.

Stanley:                       Ooh, Ooh, ooh…I know, I know!

Mr. Mathisen:             Ok, what was he?

Stanley:                       He was a fisherman!

Mr. Mathisen:             Very good Stanley. For today’s story let’s go for a walk on the beach and then maybe we’ll go for ride in Peter’s boat.

Stanley:                       Are we going to have another storm? I don’t like storms when I’m on a boat. I get sort of sick to my stomach.

Mr. Mathisen:             Oh don’t worry about that today. There won’t be any storms in this story. So let’s pretend that we’re walking on the beach of the Sea of Galilee. It’s a bright, sunny day and we can see Peter and his friends with all their nets laid out on the beach so that they can dry them, clean them and fix any tears in them.

Stanley:                       Boy, I can sure smell that wonderful sea air. I can hear seagulls and look there’s a big crowd down there on the beach and it’s headed this way.

Mr. Mathisen:             You’re right Stanley. All those people are listening to that man and he is headed this way.

Stanley:                       Wait a minute that man is walking backwards!

Mr. Mathisen:             That’s right Stanley. Those people keep crowding in on him and he has to walk backwards to keep from getting trampled by them. Look! He’s turned around and is talking to Peter.

Stanley:                       What’s he saying; I can’t hear over the noise of the crowd?

Mr. Mathisen:             I’m not sure but now he’s getting into one of those boats and he’s talking to that big man. Wait! That must be Peter. Let’s run over and listen.

Stanley:                       Um, OK. You run. I left my legs at home.

Mr. Mathisen:             Oh, Stanley. (Make running sounds) Ok, here we are at the boat. You know I think that we can squeeze into the back of the boat and see and hear everything that goes on. In we go, let’s jump!

Stanley:                       Wait a minute! You landed on me!

Mr. Mathisen:             I did not. Wait a minute! That man is Jesus. This is Peter’s boat and Jesus is asking Peter to push the boat out into the water so that He can continue to preach but not get trampled.

Stanley:                       You know, Peter didn’t look to happy about this to begin with, but he just looked at Jesus for a minute and his whole face changed. Now he’s happy to help. Wow! Talking with Jesus changed his mind!

Mr. Mathisen:             You sure are right Stanley. Peter didn’t want to obey at first, but looking at Jesus and hearing Him ask changed the way that Peter was acting. Now he seems to be really happy to help! And now we can sit in the boat and listen to Jesus teach the people too. Right Stanley?  Stanley? Stanley, what are you doing?

Stanley:                       Vroom! Vroom! Vrooooooom! Huh? Oh I was playing motor boat with my hand in the water.

Mr. Mathisen:             Shhh! Jesus is done teaching the crowd now and He’s asking Peter to move the boat out into deeper waters. Listen to what he is saying.

Jesus:                          “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

Peter:                          “Master, we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if You say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”

Mr. Mathisen:          Look, Stanley. We’re going out farther into the lake. They’re putting their nets down. Whoa! They caught something already!

Stanley:                      Wait a minute the boat is tipping over! I’m gonna drown. We’re all gonna die!

Mr. Mathisen:          Stanley, you are not going to drown and we are not all gonna die. Pay attention to what’s going on. Peter is calling to those friends of his with that other boat. They are coming to help us with this huge catch of fish.

Stanley:                      Maybe we can have fish and chips for lunch then.

Mr. Mathisen:          Stanley! Pay attention this is important stuff going on here. We’re with Jesus and Peter. Look the other boat is here and the two boats are hauling the fish in.

Stanley:                      I’ve never seen so many fish in one place in my life. Uh oh! The boat is getting so full of fish that…that. We’re gonna sink! I’m gonna drown. We’re all gonna die!

Mr. Mathisen:          Stanley! Will you stop that? Listen Peter is talking to Jesus. Now he’s gotten down on his knees right here in the boat.

Peter:                         Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around You.

Mr. Mathisen:          Did you hear that Stanley? Listen! Jesus is answering him.

Jesus:                         Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!

Stanley:                      Look! We’re almost back to the shore. All those other fishermen are coming to help with all these fish!

Mr. Mathisen:          We better get out of the boat and keep out of the way Stanley. Here we are, it’s much better up here on the beach a little ways.

Stanley:                      Can I keep this fish that got into my pocket? I bet my mom can cook it up really good!

Mr. Mathisen:          No Stanley. It doesn’t belong to us. Let’s go back down to where they are spreading the fish out on the beach and put it in with the rest. Wait a minute, Peter and his friends are leaving all these fish and their boats and following Jesus.

Stanley:                      Wow! That’s right. Where are they going? Wait is that Jesus talking again?

Mr. Mathisen:          Yes. I can just make it out He is saying. “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” Wow! It looks like choosing to obey Jesus really changed Peter’s life.

Stanley:                      It sure did. Look at all these fish! They are just walking away from them. I’ll bet they never did that before.

Mr. Mathisen:          Stanley, I think that Peter and his friends, James and John are going to find themselves doing a lot of things that they never did before, just because they decided to obey Jesus. Sometimes Jesus asks us to do things that may not make much sense, at first. But we need to obey Him anyway, because He is God and He knows what is best for us. You boys and girls need to do the same thing. Obey Jesus and obey your parents and teachers.

How to be a Godly Giver – Part 2 – The End

Stanley plopped back down on the steps again, “I didn’t think about it that way. Ok, I’ll give some to the orphans in Mexico.”

Stanley’s eyes lit up and he smiled really big. “I know what I can do. When we are in class next Sunday and Mrs. Hoffner asks if anyone brought money for the Orphans in Mexico, I’ll stand up really fast and say really loud that I am going to give one whole dollar. That way God will know what I am doing and so will the whole class and then God will give me a reward when I get to heaven.”

Susie put her hand on her brother’s shoulder and said, “Stanley, that’s not how Jesus asks you to give. Isn’t that right Johnny?”

Johnny had just finished putting the last of the cookie into his mouth so all he could say was “Yeth, thatth righp.” Johnny then took a big drink of his milk.

Susie pulled her little pocket Bible out of her back pocket and said, “In fact I was just reading a verse about that they other day, where was that?”

Susie had opened her little Bible and was turning pages back from her purple ribbon bookmark.

“Here it is! It’s in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6 verse 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it. In fact, it says a little later that you should give quietly, because when you make a big announcement so that people notice what you are doing, that’s all the reward you are going to get. If you give quietly, then God will reward you in heaven for being a cheerful, godly giver.”

Stanley turned around and sat back down on the steps and said, “I’m a little confused. What should I do with this money? How much is 10% of $5, Johnny?”

Johnny had finished swallowing the last of his milk and cookie by this time and could speak clearly, “50 cents, Stanley. That’s not really a lot of the five dollars when you think about it.”

Stanley held out his five dollar bill so that he could look at it. “How often do you guys think that those orphans get cookies and milk?”  He asked.

His sister Susie leaned over closer to him and said, “Probably not as often as we do, Stanley.”

Stanley thought about that for a minute. Then he stood up, put the five dollar bill in his pocket and ran inside looking for his mother. When he found her, he asked her for an envelope. After she gave it to him, he ran upstairs to his room. Then he got out a piece of paper and a pencil, wrote a short note and put it and his five dollar bill in the envelope and sealed it.

That next Sunday, when the Sunday school teacher asked for donations for the orphans in Mexico, she noticed that there was already an envelope in the jar.

How to be a Godly Giver – Part 1

How to be a Godly Giver

By: God

Adapted by: S.C. Mathisen


“Woo-hoo!” Stanley shouted as he ran around in a large circle in the Johnson back yard.

“I got five whole dollars for my birthday! Wow! What can I do with all this money?”

Stanley stopped and looked at the crisp five dollar bill in his hands, “I know, I can buy candy, lots and lots of candy!”

“Hang on there, little brother.” His sister Susie said from the back porch of the house. “What else should you do with that money?”

Stanley stopped and said, “Huh? What do you mean? Money is for spending, right?”

“Not always, not all of it anyway,” said Susie.

“That’s right.” said Susie’s friend Johnny who had followed her out of the back door with a half eaten Oatmeal Raisin cookie in one chubby hand and a glass of milk in the other.

“Ok, what should I do with it? Stanley asked.

“Isn’t your Sunday school class doing a coin drive to raise money for those missionaries taking care of those orphans down in Mexico?” asked Susie.

“That’s right”, spoke up Johnny as he took a big bite out of the cookie in his hand.

Stanley walked over to the steps going up to the porch and sat down looking sad.

“You mean I should give away my birthday money to the orphans in Mexico?” he moaned. “I don’t want to do that. I want to buy candy for me, not those orphans in Mexico I don’t even know.”

Susie leaned over and roughed up Stanley’s hair, “Not all of it Stanley. Most people say that we should give back 10% of what we get back to the Lord as thanks for what He gives us.”

Stanley stood up, turned around and looked his sister in the eye, “But God didn’t give this money to me. Grammie Susie gave it to me.”

Johnny leaned on the back porch railing and said, “Stanley, God gives us everything that we have; even the stuff that we get from our parents and grandparents. God made everything, He owns everything and so everything that we have comes from Him.”


The Workers in the Grocery Store – Part 6 – The End

“Johnny,” she said “I know what’s bothering you and I have a story to tell you.” Johnny didn’t move so she began. It’s a story from the Bible and it goes like this, actually let me read it to you from my pocket testament.” Susie always carried her little New Testament with her. You never know when it will come in handy, she says.

It’s from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 20.

1 “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of an estate who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work. 3 “At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. 4 So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. 5 At noon and again around three o’clock he did the same thing. 6 At five o’clock that evening he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’ 7 “They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.'”The owner of the estate told them, ‘Then go on out and join the others in my vineyard.’ 8 “That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. 9 When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10 When those hired earlier came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11 When they received their pay, they protested, 12 ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’ 13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take it and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be angry because I am kind?’ 16 “And so it is, that many who are first now will be last then; and those who are last now will be first then.”

Johnny perked up at that last part and said, “I never thought that I would really live out a Bible story, Susie, but I just did. I was jealous of the rest of you kids for being paid the same as me for all of the work that you did. I was wrong, really wrong and I am sorry.”

Susie smiled at her friend and said, you didn’t hurt my feelings but you might want to apologize to you aunt and uncle and…you might want to apologize to God for the jealousy. That’s a sin you know.”

“Boy do I,” moaned Johnny “I have been feeling really crumby ever since then. I always feel that way when I sin. You’re right I do need to pray. Would you pray with me?”

“Sure, that’s what friends are for.” smiled Susie. Our two friends sat together on that bench in the park and talked to God together about the problem that they had that day. Johnny asked for God’s forgiveness. And we all know that God forgives His children whenever they ask.

Johnny learned that he needed to be content with what he had. He got from Uncle Klaus exactly what he had agreed to and was promised. Jealousy had crept into his heart. Johnny confessed his sin and was forgiven.

The Workers in the Grocery Store – Part 5

Well, Andrea did call her mother, who gave her permission. She brought her lunch over and they all had a grand time visiting and getting to know each other. Soon lunch was over and they all got busy and everything that Uncle Klaus and Aunt Harriet wanted done that day was done in record time. Johnny and Jimmy got all the shelves stocked and the end caps set up, Aunt Harriet, along with Susie and Andrea got all the special displays done and a few more touches as well. They all gathered in the back room where the office was to gather up their coats and go home. Uncle Klaus and Aunt Harriet were conferring in the office and then began to call the children in one at a time beginning with Andrea, they handed her an envelope and said that they really appreciated her help today and wanted to give her something for her time. She was surprised, but accepted the envelope and thanked them very much. Then they called in Jimmy and then Susie and repeated the same scene with each of them. Finally, it was Johnny’s turn. Each of his friends had each shared that they had been given $50 and so when Johnny came in, he found himself expecting a little bit more because he had been there all day. They handed Johnny his envelope and told Johnny how thankful they were for his help that day and how proud they were of him as their nephew. They also mentioned to Johnny that they liked his work so much that they would talk to his parents about getting him to work for them regularly. He liked that idea a lot.

Without opening his envelope, Johnny thanked them and went out to join his friends. As he walked out into the back room, he opened his envelope and found his $50 in there. A wave of disappointment ran through him. He hesitated for just a few moments and then he went back into the office. He looked at his uncle and said, “Uncle Klaus, when you hired me you promised to give me $50 for working the whole day. Why did you pay the rest of the kids the same amount when none of them worked as long as I did?” Uncle Klaus looked at him and said, “I’m surprised at you Johnny, you agreed to work for that amount. If I choose to pay your friends the same amount that I paid you, isn’t that my privilege?” Johnny quietly said yes and then turned to leave.

He said to the waiting crowd that he was tired and was going home. He grabbed his coat and hurried toward the front door leaving them with curious looks on their faces. Susie volunteered to go after him and see what the matter was, grabbed her coat and quickly went after him. She knew where he would go if he was truly bothered by something.

Uncle Klaus and Aunt Harriet came out of the office, Jimmy and Andrea thanked them again for their generosity headed off to their own homes.

Susie found Johnny just where she thought she would. He was sitting on the same park bench that they had so often sat at before when they wanted to talk things over or pray about some special thing. Susie went over and sat down across the bench from him and just sat there silently for a few minutes.


The Workers in the Grocery Store – Part 4

The two boys headed back into the store and Uncle Klaus, having heard the bell on the door came out to see them coming back in. Johnny introduced Jimmy and asked Uncle Klaus if it would be alright if Jimmy helped them out. Uncle Klaus smiled his great big smile and said “Yah…yah…that would be very helpful and kind of you. I have just been realizing that this was really more of a job than one boy could do and my work in the back is taking longer than I thought as well. By the way, I hope that you like sandwiches because I just ordered some for our lunch break from the Murphy’s across the street. They are running a special on ham sandwiches today. I’ll call them back and add one more to the order. We got some soda pop in a cooler in the back. We’ll have a good lunch in about a half an hour.”

“Wow, that’s great!” The two boys said almost at the same time. Uncle Klaus smiled his great big smile again and said “wonderful, glad to have you here Jimmy. Johnny can show you what to do.” With that he turned and headed back to his work. Johnny showed Jimmy where to hang his coat and took him to where he had been working and showed him what to do. The two boys pitched in together, worked hard and the job of stocking the shelves was really starting to move along faster when there was a knock at the front door. Johnny could see that it was their friend Andrea. She had a large bag in her arms. Uncle Klaus was at the door quickly and both of the boys were right behind him. Andrea was delivering the sandwiches from Murphy’s and was surprised to see her two friends standing beside Uncle Klaus. Just then Aunt Harriet and Susie came over to the door to as they also knew that this was probably lunch being delivered and were both hungry.

“Wow, Andrea what are you doing with that bag of sandwiches?” asked Susie. “I have been working for the Murphy’s for the last couple of weeks when they have extra deliveries that are more than their regular delivery boy can handle. This is my last one for the day. What’s going on over here?” asked Andrea.

Uncle Klaus smiled his great big smile and explained that they were Johnny’s aunt and uncle, had just moved from the Midwest and were opening the store soon. Then Johnny took over and explained that he and Susie and Jimmy were helping them get everything ready for the store to open on Monday. Andrea handed the bag of sandwiches to Uncle Klaus, accepted the money for them and then said, “You know this is my last delivery for the day. Would it be alright if I come over and help out too?” Uncle Klaus looked at Aunt Harriet and then at Johnny, Susie and then Jimmy, smiled his big smile and said, “Yah, yah that would be wonderful to have you in on the fun that we are having.” “Great, I’ll take this payment across the street to the Murphy’s, grab my lunch and join you.” Andrea said and she headed out the door. “Don’t forget to call you mother and tell her where you’ll be,” said Aunt Harriet.


The Workers in the Grocery Store – Part 3

“Wow, that’s really nice of you Susie, come on in!” he said opening the door wide so that she could enter. Uncle Klaus had heard the bell on door in the back room and came out to see who had gone out or come in. He smiled when he saw Susie standing there with Johnny. Johnny quickly explained why Susie was there and just as they finished the explanation Aunt Harriet joined them in welcoming Susie and offered to give her some work to do with her on the other side of the store putting up some special displays. “We are new in this area, Susie, and I’d like your opinion on how they look.” Susie looked at Johnny and then back at Aunt Harriet and said, “sure, that sounds great, I’d love to help in any way that I can.” So off to the other side of the store the two went.

Johnny asked Uncle Klaus, “I’ve got all of these empty boxes, Uncle Klaus. What do you want me to do with them.” Uncle Klaus said, “you just move them up here like you did with this stack and I’ll come by a little later and show you how to break them down so we can take them out back for the recyclers to take away.” Uncle Klaus headed back to the back of the store to continue on the project he was working on back there.

So Johnny returned to stocking the shelves. After about 30 minutes more work, he thought to himself. “Wow! This is a lot more work than I thought it was going to be. I’m getting really tired and really hungry and it’s only 10:30 in the morning. We have a long way to go and probably not enough time. I wonder if Jimmy Barski would mind coming over to help me with this.” Just then he was looking out the front window and who was walking by, but Jimmy Barski. Johnny hurried to the front window and knocked on the glass to get Jimmy’s attention and then he ran over to the front door and opened it and stepped outside so that they could talk. “Hey Jimmy, how are you?” he said. “Fine” said Jimmy, “what are you doing in that store? It’s not even open yet?” “Oh, it belongs to my Uncle Klaus and Aunt Harriet. They just moved here from the Midwest, bought the building from the Nguyen’s and are opening up a new grocery store here and are going to live on the second floor. It’s really cool to have them here in Crescent City.” “That’s great Johnny, did you want something because I was headed over to the library to look at some new books on nature photography. Our trip to the wildlife park really got me interested in it and I want to learn how to do it the right way and not get myself or others in danger like that trip.”

“Wow, that’s really cool Jimmy, I was wondering if you had some spare time, I’m helping my aunt and uncle out here and I could use your help for a little while. I could pay you part of what I’m getting to make it worth your while.” Jimmy thought for a quick second and said, “You know Johnny, I’d love to help you out. After all you helped to save my life and helped to lead me to ask Jesus into my heart as my Saviour. No pay is needed. Just point me at the work.” “Wow, that’s great Jimmy, but I’ll find some way to pay you for your time. I don’t want to take advantage of you.”


The Workers in the Grocery Store – Part 2

“Hey guys!” came a familiar voice from behind them. Susie and Johnny turned to see their friend Andrea hurrying to catch up with them. “What’s going on? You guys seem to be excited about something,” asked Andrea as she approached them. “I was just telling Susie about a job that I have tomorrow helping my Uncle Klaus stocking the shelves in his new store so that they can open on Monday. He is going to pay me $50 to help him for the whole day.” “Wow! That’s a lot of money! I wish I had a rich uncle to work for, I could use some new clothes” laughed Andrea. Johnny and Susie joined in the laughter and off they went to school.

The next morning Johnny showed up at the store right on-time at 8:00am. When he arrived he could see Uncle Klaus and Aunt Harriet through the front window of the store and they were both working very hard moving boxes of merchandise around and stacking them up in front of the shelves that they were to fill. Johnny knocked on the front door, Aunt Harriet hurried over to open it up and let him in. “Johnny, it’s so good to see you and thank you for offering to help us get set up” she said while brushing some hair out of her face. Turning to where her husband was maneuvering a hand truck stacked so high with boxes that you could not see him she said loudly, “Klaus, your helper is here and he looks very strong today. He should be a lot of help to you.”

Uncle Klaus responded, “Yah…yah…just let me get this stack of soup mix boxes in place, I will be right there. Can you show him where to put his coat, please?” Aunt Harriet put her arm around Johnny’s shoulder and said to him, “come with me young man, my you certainly are getting tall aren’t you?” Johnny blushed slightly and said, “Sure Auntie…it’s been over a year since you’ve seen me very much and I’ve been growing up a lot.”

Aunt Harriet showed Johnny where to put his coat and then took him to where his uncle was working and then went over to the other side of the store. In the aisle of the store, Uncle Klaus had boxes of merchandise stacked up and the top box of each stack was open and ready for Johnny to begin taking the merchandise out and put in on the shelves. Uncle Klaus showed Johnny exactly what merchandise to put on each shelf and how to put the stock on the shelf. Johnny listened carefully and asked his uncle lots of questions until he understood exactly what to do. “I’ve got it now Uncle Klaus; you can count on me to work really hard and to get the job done!” Johnny said eagerly. He was anxious to get started. Uncle Klaus showed him the ladder that he was to use to get the top shelves and said, “Ok Johnny, I’ve got some work to do in the back. You should be able to get most of this done by lunch time and then we’ll start on the end caps and then help Aunt Harriet with her special displays.” Uncle Klaus headed for the back room.

Johnny dove right in to the work and started working pretty quickly to begin with. The empty boxes began to stack up in the aisle and it started to get hard for Johnny to move around them. They hadn’t talked about what to do with the empty boxes.

Around 10 o’clock there was a knock on the front door of the store. Johnny carried a stack of empty boxes to the front of the store and set them down and saw that it was Susie. He hurried to the door and opened it and said, “Hey Susie, why are you here?” Susie just smiled and said, “You know Johnny I started thinking about it and thought that you might want some help with this job. I don’t need to be paid. I just want to help out our newest neighbor.”