Stories for Children

(Based on the Bible)

By Kathleen Donavan

Chapter Five - Cutting Fire Wood

Tim was tired, and ready for a break. He had been pulling one end of the cross-cut saw through young Birch saplings that had grown up in the Pine thicket they had planted to sell for pulpwood.( paper mills use Pine trees to make many kinds of paper products ranging from shipping boxes to flooring for buildings.) Tim's family used the Birch for firewood. Clearing them out would be better for the Pines because the saplings were using space, water, and nourishment from the soil that the marketable trees needed to grow big.

It was hot work and he had taken off his coat first, then his jean jacket and now he was pulling off his flannel shirt leaving only his tee shirt. He liked cutting up firewood and stacking it on the trailer pulled in by a John Deer tractor, but he was thinking more about what his Mom packed in the lunch box, right now, than he was concerned with the height of wood stacked by the shed.

Dad noticed that Tim was guzzling down water from the jug, and eyeing the red lunch box, and he was really glad that Tim was ready to stop for awhile because he had worked up a big sweat himself.

"It was 46 degrees when we left home this morning, Tim, wonder what it's up to now?"

"Not a bit less than 110 and climbing," Tim said, exaggerating a bit, as he slid down the pine tree he had been leaning against. He opened the box and pulled out sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper. He handed one to his Dad and they sat there with the only break in silence being the snap of a container top opening to expose the most luscious blueberry cobbler either of them had ever tasted.

"Yum, this surely is good," remarked Dad, "Your Mom really broke her own record with this cobbler!"

"There's more where that came from, because I saw her take it out of the oven this morning. She made it in the biggest pan in the kitchen- you know the one, she keeps it on the wall at the back of the pantry."

"Great!" Tim's Dad said, as he loaded all the used dishes and paper back into the lunch box. "Let's just stretch out here on the pine straw and rest for a few minutes."

He looked up and saw that the suggestion was a waste of breath because Tim was lying there watching a Jay bird, with no obvious plans to return to the cross-cut saw immediately.

"Know something, Dad," Tim asked.

"Maybe I know a thing or two, do you have something in mind specifically?"

"I've been wondering how can we know right from wrong if the Tree of Knowledge belongs to God? Seems to me that we would have to know what good is before we can do it."

"There is nothing wrong with knowing good from evil, we must learn good from evil, but we have a tendency to forget that God has the right to define what is good and what is evil. That's why we must look into the written word and think about it prayerfully to distinguish how the Word applies to our own lives and circumstances."

"Dad, you know how I am, I like knowing exactly what I must do."

"You will find plenty of instructions in the bible, but each instruction is like a mirror for us to look into to see if we are clean. It doesn't change anything, if we see our dirty face and walk away without washing the dirt from our face. We can have our lists, and never apply them to ourselves on a personal level. For instance, we might read something about loving God with all our heart and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves, but we might need further instructions on doing these things."

"Give me an example, Dad."

"In James, the third chapter, we learn of two kinds of wisdom; ‘who is wise and understanding among you, let him show it by…….deeds done in humility, but if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from heaven, but is earthy, unspiritual…..but the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, them peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sew in peace, raise a harvest of righteousness.

"Sounds like good manners to me," Tim said.

Dad explained further, "That's a lot of instruction about ‘goodness' or ‘ righteousness'.

We see it, we know that we should do better in many ways, but it's up to us to ask God for the kind of wisdom that comes from Him. It's not natural to be this way. We don't have on our own, the ability to follow God's directions consistently. Nobody does."

"Where do we start, Dad?"

"Like you mentioned, we start with good manners and keep noticing our own actions. When we fall short, as we sometimes will, we must determine in our own hearts to improve our conduct.

"Another thing is to think of the needs of others and prayerfully make a decision about what we can do to help them fill their needs. It might be sharing your lunch with someone who has no lunch, or it could be helping a student who is having difficulty with a class in which you excel."

"The main thing," Tim concluded, "is that the Lord decided what right and wrong is and our choice is if we choose to obey Him."

"Exactly, Tim, and the rewards are amazing when we choose to obey God!"

"Let's load up and go home, by the time we stack this wood beside the shed, I think we can say that we've done a day's work.

"May I drive the tractor, Dad?"

"Okay, son, but keep it in the ruts. We would hate to reload it, if the trailer turns over."

Tim was pulling into the back yard, and Linda rushed out of her play house jumping up and down, shouting; "Tim is driving, Tim is driving!"

"Daddy, when are you going to let me drive," Linda demanded to know as she stood there with her hands on her hips.

"In good time, Linda, in good time."

As Dad stacked the wood next to the shed, his mind wondered to thoughts of a cool shower.


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