Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sunday School (10/25/07)
TITLE: A Fall Surprise
By Debbie Wistrom
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Students had brought small gifts, over the years, and many had been flowers cut from their mother’s gardens, but somehow this out of season treasure felt special. God definitely works on his own timetable and I thank him for the many surprises he has in store for us. The foil wrapping told me that my young giver had adult input, so I knew that this was not a last minute gesture, but thought had gone into the giving of this precious gift. The wet paper-towel and foil wrapped around the stem kept it fresh and secure during services and the trip home, where it found its place on the windowsill in the kitchen.
During the week, the velvet petals opened, rather quickly at first, then more slowly. For a day or so, I could only smell the crisp scent from the sink, soon I could pick up the fragrance from the table and then one day I could even smell it as I opened the front door. As these changes occurred, I thought of my Sunday school students and of the 12 years of teaching the fourth, fifth and sixth graders at my church. I thought of Kevin, the young boy who was like the tight bud when his Grandma first brought him to my door. How closed this little person was, he did not want to join the others. Nevertheless, Grandma was persistent and he kept coming. Perseverance was my ally as well.
As the message of Jesus’ love washed over him week after week, I could see this little bud opening, slowly, but it was happening. Getting to know Jesus allowed Kevin to let his inner layers to fall open to reveal he was as beautiful as my new red beauty. His smiles became my reward for patiently including him in all the class activities. Not pushing, not casting him as the center of attention, but with acceptance I acknowledged his presence each Sunday morning with a smile and calling him by name.
One afternoon while admiring the rose, something outside the window caught my attention. A black flash dashed behind the maple. The gold autumn leaves were falling and caught the attention of a black kitten. He was batting at the falling leaves, and was quite busy because the breeze had picked up and the leaves were busy accomplishing their final job of the season. So many leaves, it looked like he would soon be buried under a mound of golden leaves if he wasn’t so busy chasing them.
This furry little fellow reminded me of another Sunday school student. Not withdrawn like Kevin, but quite the opposite, Scott was a whirlwind. He was all boy, rowdy to the max and wanting class time to be his time. Constantly aiding chaos at every chance, Scott’s soul craved attention. I turned him over to Jesus. With his loving arms helping me, in time, I was able to reign in this rambunctious creature, by soothing him with soft words, which were never heard at home, and by smiles handed out freely.
As the weekend approached, the petals started to fall to the counter. This reminded me that most of God’s gifts are fleeting. For as long as God will allow me the pleasure of teaching His young children, those like Kevin and Scott, precious as a budding rose, they will have my help in finding Jesus. Other groups of children will warm the tiny chairs in my classroom. Brothers and sisters will follow. They will need to be cared for and nurturing, as did the rosebush in order to bring about God’s beautiful harvest. I remember too, and thank Him for the laughter of His tender children and the chance to make a difference in some of their lives.
Only God’s gift of salvation is able to withstand time and be as fresh tomorrow as a newly opened rose is today.
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