Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FOLD (10/08/15)
TITLE: Uncle Jelly's Perfect Paper Parrot
By Gerald Shuler
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Like when he brought his perfect paper parrot to Sunday School with him.
“His name is Pete the Parrot.” Uncle Jelly introduced the paper bird, stroking it's head as though it were alive. “He came with me today to teach us everything we need to know about God.”
Okay, he had our attention. EVERYTHING??? How could a paper parrot teach us everything we need to know about God? So, as always, we eagerly listened as Uncle Jelly taught us the impossible.
“Let's each make a parrot we can take home.”
Uncle Jelly passed out a single sheet of paper to each child in the room. He handled each piece gently, making sure it was delivered undamaged.
“Be very careful with your parrot. He is the only one you will get.”
He then took his own piece of paper and, with the same gentleness, held it up for us to see. He then laid the paper in front of him telling us to do exactly as instructed. For twenty minutes we listened and followed directions about how to make a paper parrot, but not once was God mentioned or anything biblical taught. Uncle Jelly had told us we would learn everything we need to know about God but we were quickly running out of time.
It didn't take long before kids started making mistakes with their project. As always seems to happen, some misunderstood the instructions, some got ahead with anticipated instructions, and others rushed through the instructions because they didn't really care about making a paper bird. Each child had his or her own response to each instruction from Uncle Jelly. But he consistantly maintained the gentle care with each fold, each turn of the paper, each step of the process. So, by the time the folding was finished, his parrot was as perfect as Pete the Parrot.
“Well, I've finished Polly.” Uncle Jelly smiled. “Pete now has a girlfriend.” He looked around the room to see how everyone else had done with their folding. The projects ranged from barely bird-like to crumpled up failures.
“Ah...” Uncle Jelly still had his smile. “I see we have all learned everything there is to know about God.”
The bewildered look on each child's face told it all... not one of us had seen a lesson in our failure.
“Let me explain...” Uncle Jelly held up the paper parrot he had just folded. “God created us all, in a way far more wonderful than how I 'created' this parrot. God was even more gentle, careful, and loving in the way he created us. He loved us so much he even gave us an instruction book so we could learn to be like Him.” He picked up a bible and waved it for the kids to see. “This instruction book is one of the most important things God has given us so we could understand more about his Son, Jesus.”
He looked at our failed projects with genuine sorrow.
“You were all given the same instructions. But, just like in life, sometimes we don't follow instructions very well. We take short cuts, we don't see the importance of instructions, or we think we know a better way. If we can just learn, though, to follow God's instructions, then we can know everything God wants us to know about our life in Him.”
“But what if we mess up like we did with these birds?” I don't know who asked the question but it was on all of our minds. “We don't get a second chance to make another one.”
“Don't worry about that,” Uncle Jelly smiled another one of his smiles. “God will always give you another chance... if you ask Him.”
That is when we learned about the God of the Second Chance. Uncle Jelly gave each child another piece of paper, complete with instructions... that he knew would be very carefully followed.
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