Mark frowned and kicked at a stone as he walked home from school. As he approached Mr. Burk's house, he saw his Sunday school teacher working in the yard. "Hi there, Mark," said Mr. Burk. "How are you today?"
"Okay," muttered Mark. He shuffled his toe in the dirt. "But I'm always getting into trouble at school," he added with a sigh. "Since I've been coming to your Sunday school class, I've been trying to change and be good--but I just can't seem to do it. Today I had to stay in at recess because I got into a fight."
Mr. Burk leaned on his rake. "I'm sorry to hear that," he said.
Mark shrugged. "Like I said, I'm trying to do better, but I guess I'm hopeless."
"Oh, no, no, no!" said Mr. Burk. "You're not hopeless. I think you're just depending on the wrong things to help you." He picked up a small, dead branch that had fallen from a tree. "I was going to plant some fruit trees out back," he said. "I'll water them and put fertilizer around them, and soon they'll bear juicy peaches and apples for me to eat." He held up the dead branch. "Why don't you help me plant this one?"
Mark laughed. "That's a dead stick. You know it won't grow anything."
Mr. Burk looked at the stick. "True," he said. "A dead stick can't produce fruit. And you know what, Mark? You may be like this stick--you don't have true life, either, if you haven't accepted Jesus as Savior. Have you done that?"
"No, I! I!" stammered Mark. "I thought if I just went to church and read the Bible and did stuff like that, I'd be all right."
"You said you want to do better, but you need Jesus for that," said Mr. Burk. "Even if you read the whole Bible and go to church and pray, you can't produce the fruit of a Christian life if you don't have Christ's life within you." Mr. Burk smiled at Mark. "Would you like me to explain how you can receive real life through Christ?"
Mark looked at the dead stick lying on the lawn and nodded. Mary Rose Pearson
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you have Christ’s life within you? Or do you just try hard to be good only to fail? Just like a dead stick can’t produce fruit when it’s not connected to a living tree, you can’t live the Christian life without Jesus. If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Savior, see the ABCs of Salvation in the column to the right to start a new life today!
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: 1 John 5:12 (KJV)
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
*Verse displayed is NKJV