Thorny Hedge

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"Hey, Dad, let's go outside and kick the soccer ball around for a while," Miguel suggested after supper one evening.

"Okay," agreed Dad with a smile. "Let's go!"

Miguel and his father were having a good time when . . . "Oops! Sorry about that!" Dad called after one of his kicks sent the ball into a couple of barberry thorn bushes at the back of their yard.

Miguel went after it. "Ouch!" he exclaimed with a frown as a thorn pricked him when he tried to get the ball. He scowled. "I hate those bushes," he grumbled. "Why don't we cut them down?"

"That might be a good idea," said Dad. "They cause problems for me, too. Seems like I'm always bumping into one of them, especially when I cut the grass."

Miguel grinned. "Is that why I usually get that job?" he teased. "I wonder why God made thorns. What are they good for?"

"Well, they're a result of sin," said Dad. "After Adam and Eve sinned, God told Adam the ground was cursed and would bring forth thorns and thistles, which can crowd out and hinder the growth of crops."

"And thorns can hurt us," Miguel stated as he looked at his finger, which had begun to bleed.

Dad nodded. "Thorns and sin--both hurt us," he said. "If we let sinful thoughts and habits crowd our minds, they hinder growth in our Christian lives. Proverbs 15:19 compares the way, or path, of the lazy person to a hedge of thorns."

"A hedge of thorns?" repeated Miguel. "Wow!" He pointed to the barberry bushes. "One thorn is bad enough, but a whole hedge of them is even worse, right? So I guess that means laziness is really bad."

"Right," said Dad. "Any sin is bad and needs to be confessed and forsaken, but laziness often causes us to sin in a lot of ways. When a person is lazy, he often does poor work, leaves things undone, and has bad attitudes."

"I think I get it, Dad," said Miguel, looking at his finger. "This keeps bleeding. I need to go bandage it. I'll be right back, okay?"

"Sure," said Dad. He grinned and added, "You don't mind if I get that ball while you're gone, do you?" Laughing, Miguel shook his head as he ran to the house.

How About You?
Do you do your homework and school projects promptly? Or do you put them off? Do you keep your room neat, or do you think it doesn't matter what it looks like? Do you faithfully read your Bible and pray, or do you often plan to do that later and then never get around to it? Ask God to help you break lazy habits. They're like thorns in your life that choke out God's blessings and keep you from growing spiritually.

Today's Key Verse:
The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns. (Proverbs 15:19)

Today's Key Thought:
Stop lazy habits