Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1-10
Introduction: In the book of Deuteronomy, God repeats the laws that he previously gave to Israel. He does this so that the people can remember what they must do to follow Him. He also repeats His promises to them, so that they will continue to have faith. He tells them that He will cause them to defeat their enemies, that He will give them the land He had promised, and that He will provide all they need when they enter that land (verse 5).
God expects the same of us today. First, we have to be careful to learn the Bible. That way, we can learn to follow it completely. When we obey Him, it spreads His Word to others through our example and teaching. And God still expects parents to teach their children His Word.
The story “Cutting Corners” was written by Howard J. Chidley and published in Fifty-Two Talks for Boys and Girls in 1914. Now out of print, the book is available free online.
Have you boys and girls ever noticed how all the curbings at the corners of the streets in the city are worn smooth by drivers of carts and wagons trying to cut the corners as closely as possible?
But the principal thing to notice about those curbs is that you will often find on them the paint, sometimes red and sometimes black or yellow, scratched off the wheels of these carriages that are so anxious to cut corners. And the wheels that cut corners soon get to looking shabby from lack of paint.
That is the way it nearly always happens with people who try to cut corners. I know boys and girls who try it in school.
They try to skim through by doing just as little work as possible. They cut the corners as closely as possible with their lessons, so that they can have time for play. They do that with the work in subtraction, and then, when they get into multiplication or division, they have all sorts of trouble. And soon their arithmetic looks very shabby indeed.
Other boys and girls try to cut corners with the truth. They see just how near a lie they can come, and yet keep within the bounds of truth. Something inside tells them it is not quite fair. And again, when that happens, they have rubbed some of the bright, beautiful paint, so to speak, off their consciences. And before long their consciences get to be quite shabby, and not at all new, and people begin to say that they don’t quite trust that boy or girl.
And so I say to you, boys and girls, it does not pay to cut corners. Give yourselves plenty of room. Be open and fair and industrious. For one who cuts close corners as a boy or girl, usually grows up into a very small sort of man or woman.
For Further Study:
- Verse 6 says that the nations would notice how the Israelites were led by God. People who obey God are noticed. Sometimes they’re persecuted for obeying God, but many times their life of peace and joy in God makes a good impression on others and makes others want to know more about Christ. Read these verses to see what a good influence we can be in the world for God: 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:6-8; 1 Peter 3:1.
- Can you think of how different religions have added to these ~ Matthew 19:9; Ephesians 4:4-6; Colossians 3:16. Can you think of how they’ve subtracted from these ~ 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 20:7
- What’s your favorite flavor of pizza? What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Imagine that you went somewhere for pizza or ice cream, and the server decided to add other toppings, or add a different flavor to it. Imagine that he left something out. How would you feel? What would you do? If you talked to the server about it, and he just shrugged and said, “Oh well, that’s the way I like it,” what would that tell you?