Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Sunday School( 10/25/07)
By Rachel Burkum
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The colored wax grew soft in Timmy’s hot palm. Blood rushed to his face as he stole glances at the other children seated at the round table. They were all busy drawing, obediently following instructions. Everyone knew what to draw…except him.
He leaned to one side, trying to take a peek at the redheaded girl’s picture, but she saw him too soon and quickly moved her elbow to hide her artwork. The boy in the green shirt frowned when Timmy tried to see what he was doing with a black crayon.
His embarrassment rising, Timmy wondered if he would get into trouble if he left his paper empty. He tried to think…tried to imagine what Mrs. Howard had meant. But who…or what…was Jesus?
Was Jesus a person? Something else? Timmy knew Jesus was surely something good. Mrs. Howard had smiled when she had said it. But this was the first time Timmy had ever been here, and for a horrid moment, he felt more stupid than he ever had before.
As the seconds ticked by, Timmy knew his time was running out. Mrs. Howard had given them only a few minutes to complete this task. What would he say when she asked him what he had drawn? What would the other children say? He could imagine their laughter.
Setting down his brown crayon and picking up an orange one instead, he stalled. His mind raced. Jesus…Jesus…surely he knew what it was. He made straight A’s in his second grade class. He’d thought he would be ready for Sunday school. But maybe they taught different things here. His school didn’t have crosses on the doors like this building did. Maybe it wasn’t the same thing.
“One more minute,” Mrs. Howard announced.
Timmy swallowed hard. In one last attempt to gain the knowledge he lacked, he looked to the walls. There were many pretty pictures…sheep…a big boat…a kind-looking shepherd. And then he spotted it. The sign had been above the door all along. If only he had seen it sooner.
“Jesus is Love.”
Relief swept over Timmy. Not only did he have it figured out, but it was something easy to draw!
“All right, kids. Time is up. Let’s see what you’ve drawn.” As Mrs. Howard spoke, Timmy connected his lines, completing the assignment. Beaming, he set his crayon down.
But as the other children began to display their works, Timmy felt sick. Tears of humiliation welled up in his dark eyes as his hand refused to turn over his paper so the others could see. He didn’t understand. How could he have been so wrong?
All around him were drawings of faces. They looked like men. Happy men with nice smiles, long hair and beards. Jesus was a man.
“Timmy? Do you want to show us your picture?”
Timmy shook his head, lowering his eyes to the table.
Mrs. Howard put a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Why not? I’m sure you did a good job.”
“No, I didn’t,” Timmy mumbled.
“Well, can I see?”
Timmy let go of his paper, allowing Mrs. Howard to pick it up. He curled up his arms in front of him to burry his face, sure he would be laughed at now.
Mrs. Howard blinked back a tear. “Oh, Timmy.”
He cringed. Mrs. Howard sounded upset…or sad…or something. But certainly not happy.
Taking his paper to the front of the classroom, she held it up for everyone to see. “You all did wonderful jobs on your pictures, and I’m very proud of you. But remember…Jesus is much more than just a man. He’s God’s Son. He is our Savior. And He loves us very much.”
As Timmy began to listen to that morning’s lesson, embarrassment was slowly erased. Understanding flooded his mind as he learned just who Jesus was. A small amount of pride shone in his eyes as Mrs. Howard pinned his picture on the wall next to the blackboard.
And when anyone questioned what the crudely drawn heart was for, Mrs. Howard would simply answer, “It’s Jesus.”
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