Reading: Ezra 9:1-3
Judy was helping her older sister Mary iron their father’s shirts for work & church assemblies. Judy sprayed the shirts with starch and laid them on the counter. Mary took shirts from the counter and ironed them on a nearby board. Together, the sisters would finish enough shirts for their father for a week, as well as earn some spending money.
“Here is a T-shirt that was mixed up in this load of laundry,” said Judy, holding up one of their father’s undershirts.
Mary’s eyes widened and then she giggled. “Oh dear,” she said, “it looks like I accidentally washed this one in the load for hot water.”
Judy looked at the shirt, which was now small enough to fit her. “Ooh, will Daddy be angry at us?” she asked.
“I don’t think so,” said Mary. “It’s one of his oldest shirts. I’ll ask him, and if it needs to be replaced, I’ll use my money for it. It was my fault.”
Judy was relieved. She was already envisioning her spending allowance being reduced. She looked again at the shirt in her hands and said, “I can’t believe how little this is.”
“Yes, that can happen if you’re not careful,” Mary said, picking up her iron again. “Judy, do you know that the Bible talks about shrinking?”
“It does? Who shrunk something in the Bible?”
“Well, in chapter 10 of the book of Hebrews it talks about Christians who ‘shrink back’ from faith in God. A person can shrink back in the faith when they become discouraged or afraid, or when they become caught up in sin and forsake God. This is what the Israelites did when they worshipped idols. Christians do it today when they disobey God and mistreat others, and don’t ask for forgiveness. Can you imagine if your faith shrunk smaller and smaller, like this shirt?”
“That would be terrible,” Judy said.
“Yes, it would be so dangerous for us. Some people’s faith shrinks so small that they have trouble finding it again when they most need it. That’s why in the same chapter in Hebrews, it says we should be brave, love others, and worship Him as much as possible. This will help us keep from shrinking back.”
Judy grabbed her father’s shirt and held it up. “It will keep us out of hot water!” she said.
Mary laughed. “That’s right! It will make us useful for God!”
For Further Study:
- Priests and kings in Ezra’s day had a special purpose. In Ezra 9:2 God says that they did not teach the people to obey Him. Do you think your life has a purpose? Do you think of yourself as having a special job? You are very important to God, Christ’s church, and your family. Even though it’s hard to imagine, even a child can do wonderful things for God. Do you remember how Christ talked about children in Matthew 19:13-15 and Mark 10:13-16? When you are humble, trusting, willing to obey, and loving, you teach older people what they must be like to enter Heaven! God has given you this great job because children are so good at trusting God, helping others, and being cheerful.
- Finish these sentences:
I have a special purpose for God. It is:
I can fulfill this purpose every day by doing these things :
These can get in the way of my work for God: