Object Lessons

Influence

Objects: Shadows

I grew up in the shadow of a great elm tree. I used to come in from working in the fields in the hot sun, hungry and thirsty and so tired that I would drop down in the shadow of that elm tree for a short rest. Many times have I measured the height of that tree by its shadow.

Not long ago I saw a tiny baby being wheeled by his mother in an open carriage. The sun was shining brightly and a little girl was walking beside the carriage and when a turn was made she would run around to the other side. I asked her why she did this and her answer was: "I'll be a shade for him." She tried to stand so that the baby would be in her shadow.

Another thing about that shadow, you can't dodge it; you can't take it off or leave it while you go out and play. Your shadow is always with you wherever you go. If you could not cast a shadow you would not be real.

The things you say and the things you do are kind of shadows of what you are. After a thing is said or done it's pretty hard to dodge it and I hope you never want to. If you are pleasant and thoughtful and are square shoot­ers you will find that the other boys and girls around you will want to stand and play where you are. Peter was that kind of a man after Jesus called him and made him a real personality.


Objects: Seeds

This is the time of year we all know as the Lenten Season, and when we think of Lent we know it is nearly spring. Then when Easter comes the buds are coming on the trees and the flowers are beginning to beautify the gardens.

You know, I have been thinking about these flowers and I have decided that in order to have beautiful flowers seeds must be sown. The early flowers we see in the spring are usually from bulbs which have stayed in the ground all winter. But the garden has to be watched and kept free of weeds and cutworms.

Now, if you want a fine garden the first thing is to decide where to make it. It must have some sun and yet have the protection of a little shade. There must also be a lot of good soil in that garden. Then you have to spade up that plot of ground and work it and perhaps enrich it; and last, if you are a good gardener, you sow the kind of seed the land is best suited for.

God wants each one of you boys and girls to be His Gardener.—Perhaps you will be playing with a group of boys or girls and you notice that one of them has a tendency to cheat just a little bit; well, there is your chance to beautify the garden of your play—just reach into your heart and out of your character take a few seeds of honesty and get next to that lad and plant them in the fertile soil of his thought,—and then keep playing with him and watch those seeds grow and his life and attitude become better. Plant seeds of love and gratitude wherever you find selfishness.


Objects: A Light

One of the very first things you think of when you enter a dark room is the electric light switch on the wall or the chain on some lamp. You open the door and walk slowly in. It is dark. It is a strange room to you and you were told there was a light there. But no light came on until you pushed that little switch. The room was wired all right; the bulbs were in their places, and the current was turned on and the power house was operating but it remained for you to push the switch. And usually, when you go into a dark room you push that switch pretty quickly. You like to have the whole room flooded with light.

I recall riding with a friend into his garage once and the minute we crossed the threshold the whole place was all lighted up. I remarked about it and he turned off the lights and we went out. Then he walked into the garage and again the room was flooded with light. It just seemed as though his very presence caused the darkness to disappear. You see the switch was really on the floor along the little threshold so that the weight of a man or car would push it on.

As you have been studying about Jesus doesn't it occur to you, my young friends, that wherever He went all the dark places of sin and evil and roughness and jealousies and bad language just seemed to show up under His very presence and disappear? Every word He spoke and every step He took seemed to count and turn on the light for someone who needed help.

I do hope you are near enough to God at all times so that it is no effort for you to give light where it is needed.


Objects: Sunflower and Weeds

Jesus had a great love for flowers. Many of His illustrations or parables had to do with nature. I can understand very well why this was so, since the time some years ago I saw just one single sunflower growing among a lot of weeds that was once a garden. It looked so out of place and almost unhappy that I was inclined, at first, to break it off or pull it up. But I let it stay and what do you suppose happened? The next year, instead of one sunflower there were five or six.

Now, in time, if those sunflowers hadn't been winter killed or plowed up, there would have been a large garden of sunflowers, and the weeds would have been killed OUT OR UNNOTICED.

You know, I think Jesus was something like that: A sunflower among weeds. He came to live in this world and grew in nobility and character and practiced love, and honesty and helpfulness, and friendliness and reverence, when all around Him were wrong and hatred and dishonesty.

Somehow as Jesus went about, a seed of love and helpfulness and reverence fell into people's hearts and grew other sunflowers. And you and I are one of them to help drive out sin and wrong; and the faster you spread Christianity the sooner will the weeds disappear.

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