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TeensAllen Meets Jesus
By Toni Smothers

I was running some errands in town yesterday when I came across a mentally challenged young man named Tim. Everyone around knew him. He was usually a very cordial young man – just a bit simple.

Tim was swinging a picnic basket as he walked. "Going on a picnic Tim," I asked.

"Nope, caught me a bunch of baby chicks; want’a see?" On the bottom of the basket, there were three little, dainty, trembling, yellow chicks looking near scared to death.

I stopped Tim and asked him, "What are you going to do with those little fellas Tim?"

"Take ‘em to my house to play," he answered. "I'm gonna see if they can roll around, maybe … or pull some of those pretty, fluffy feathers out to play with. I dunno, play some fun games with ’em. I'm gonna have lots of fun with ’em I bet."

"Don’t you think they might get hurt Tim? What will you do if you hurt them by accident?"

"Oh, I won’t do that. Besides, they’re just plain little chicks. Who cares about plain ole chicks?" said the simple boy. "What’s the difference? They ain’t good for nothing and they mostly die anyway."

I tried to think of what to say to Tim to make him give me those chicks. "Want to make a trade, Tim?"

"Huh??!!! Why? You don't want them chicks. They're just plain ole chicks. They don't do anything but poop and they’re all skinny and little."

"How about it?" I asked again. "I’ll trade you an ice-cream cone for them."

"Really? Boy, I sure would like an ice-cream cone!" Tim said as he handed over the basket.

I went with him a few blocks to the ice-cream store and bought him his cone. He was happily licking his treat as he walked away – all thought of the little chicks totally forgotten.

I carried them back to the nearest farm down the road, and sure enough, there were several adult chickens squawking about. I carefully placed each chick on the other side of the fence, pretty certain that was their home. I was their hero; the little chicks were free and all it cost me was an ice-cream cone.

I couldn’t help telling the story to my seven-year-old son, Allen, because I thought there was a good lesson to be learned from the story of Tim and the chicks. Jesus set us free too – but instead of an ice-cream cone, He paid for our freedom with His life. So after supper, when bedtime rolled along, I scooped my son up into my lap and said, "How’d you like to hear a little story?"

"Sure," he replied excitedly. Allen always loves to hear a good story.

First I showed him the basket and told him about Tim and the chicks. After that I really had Allen’s attention, so I wanted to take the opportunity to teach him something deeper than just my saving some chicks at a pretty cheap price. So, I made up a parallel story to teach him a little bit more about our real Savior.

I began, "One day a mean and dangerous man named Sin and a rather gentle young man named Purity were having a conversation. Sin had just come from abusing a young family and was bragging. "What fun – I just caught the boy by the ankle and caused him to break his leg. Got the Dad while he was running to help his boy. He tripped over the skate in the driveway and busted up his nose and chin pretty bad. Then, the best part of all, the young mother flies out the front door across the yard and trips on a rock. Hurt her hip, but the best, best part is she’s pregnant and now she’s gonna lose her unborn baby. Got 'a love it! That was really fun."

"Why’d you want to do all those cruel things," Purity asked?

Sin answered with a snicker, "Oh, I'm not done with them! I'm gonna teach them, and lots of others too, how to ruin their marriages, how to belittle each other and be prejudiced and backstabbing. I’ll teach them about war and revenge and pain. Let them be burdened with addiction to all kinds of harmful substances. I’ll make sure they learn how to kill each other, maybe even start a war or two. I'm really gonna have fun!"

"And what will you do when you get done with them?" Purity asked.

"Oh, I'll torture some of them … kill all of them for sure," Sin boasted.

"What can I do to make you stop?" Purity asked.

"Oh, why should you care about those people? They‘re absolutely no good and never will be. Why, I’ve already made most of them hateful. They’ll just hate you, spit on you, curse and kill you. You don't have any reason to want those people!!"

"What can I trade you that you will accept?" He asked again.

Sin looked at Purity and got really mad. "You’re a fool – give me your life if you want to be the big hero! And be sure that if you agree, you will die very painfully!"

Purity said, "I agree. It is finished!"

"Eventually He paid up and died a terrible death on the cross, just like Jesus did for us." I told Allen.

I picked up the basket that held those little chicks. We both looked inside, and it was empty. "Those little chicks are free, just like us sweetie." I said.

"I sure hope Purity didn’t really die." The concern in Allen’s voice was very real.

"Oh, but that’s what the story is all about, Allen. Purity is just a story name. He’s just like Jesus, who really did die for us. He protected us from Sin and saved us with his own life."

A tiny tear rolled down Allen’s sweet cheek. "I think Jesus is my best friend."

"Mine too." I said.
***

Let’s all try to start this New Year remembering that Jesus truly wants to be our very best friend. He is as close to us as our own breath. His love is always available and each and every one of His beloved family, which means you and me, are so important to Him that He gave His very life to prove it.

I hope that you all had a Blessed Christmas and that you will have a Spirit-filled New Year!
Toni Smothers is a child of God, wife, mom, grandmother, writer and lay-speaker. She has had serious exposure to the rougher side of life and from that experience has been left with a heart full of love for others who struggle with learning about our beautiful Savior. Through her writing, Toni delights in helping young people especially, who are seeking to find a true, intimate relationship with their Heavenly Father. You can write to Toni through the Your Letters page of this magazine.

LIFE LESSONS FROM 2004:
It’s an on-going lesson, but I think I’ve learned even more over the last 12 months not to sweat the small stuff – particularly when it comes to our teenage children. There are enough really stressful things in life without getting worked up over whether a 17-year-old son wears black and white checkered sandshoes with the $200 suit we hired for his Year 10 formal. At the end of the day, does it really matter? (Deb Porter)



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