November 17

As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. —I Peter 4:10 (RSV)

When class was over, the six- to nine-year-olds I was teaching in Sunday school all scrambled for the door at once. I was alarmed by their unruly stampede, but I didn't know what to do about it.

Then one Sunday I was surprised to learn that they all really liked one of the things I used in my lesson. It was a punch-out that folded into a small box with a different picture on each of its six surfaces. When I pitched the box to a child, he or she made up a story to fit the illustration. Because they seemed to like it so much, I said, "I'm going to give this box to one of you to take home. But you have to do something to earn it. When class is over, whoever remains quietly in his or her seat will get the box." I was certain they'd forget and dash out as usual.

When our time was up, I said matter-of-factly, "Class is over." No one moved. "You may leave now," I said. Again, they sat stock-still. "Okay," I said, laughing, "I'll think of a number and hold up that many fingers under the table. The one who guesses correctly gets the box." They thought that was fair.

As I was about to put my hands under the table, I noticed that Avie, a little girl sitting in front of me, had briefly bowed her head and folded her hands. When she opened her eyes, I whispered, "Were you praying?"

She nodded, smiling slightly.

"Would you like to tell me what you were praying about?"

She leaned over and whispered, "That I'd win the box!"

Amazingly, her guess was correct, and an enormous smile lit up her face as I handed the box to her. Still beaming, she gave it to the girl sitting next to her, along with a big hug. "I want you to have it, Bethany," Avie said. "I love you. You're my best friend!"

Lord, I'm beginning to see why You wanted me to meet these children.

—Marion Bond West