The Wrong Give-Away

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The junior high Sunday school class was getting geared up for its annual Spring Cleaning Give-Away. Each year, members of the class brought books, games, and other articles in like-new condition to be given to the Pine Crest Children's Home.

"What should I give this year?" Paul asked as he fumbled through his things.

Mom smiled. "How about some of your Legos?" she asked. "Or maybe some puzzles or trucks. You don't use them much anymore." Paul looked at the things Mom had suggested, but he wasn't sure he wanted to give up any of them.

The next day, Paul decided to clean out his locker at school. Old papers, broken pencils, and even a dirty pair of gym socks were soon piled up on the floor. Then he spied a baseball he had borrowed from Tanner months before. Tanner's probably forgotten about this--he's got more baseballs than anyone I know, Paul thought, pulling the ball from the back of his locker. He tucked it into his jacket pocket, threw out the trash, and headed home.

That evening Paul showed the ball to his dad. "I'm gonna help old Tanner do a good deed," Paul told Dad. "I'm gonna give this to the kids at the home. Tanner will never miss it."

Dad frowned. "Whoa!" he said. "That would be the wrong give-away. You can't give away something that isn't yours."

"But Tanner wouldn't care," insisted Paul, "and it's for a good cause."

"Doing something wrong can't be justified by saying you're doing it for God," Dad told Paul. "King Saul, in the Bible, tried to do that. God had told him to destroy all the cattle and sheep in a certain city, but King Saul kept some of the best animals. He said he wanted to sacrifice them to God, but God was not pleased. He said he'd rather have Saul obey Him than offer sacrifices." Dad looked at Paul. "And God would rather have you obey His command to not steal than to give away that ball--even for a good cause!"

Paul looked at the ball. He knew Dad was right--he needed to return the ball to Tanner, not give it to someone else. "Okay," he agreed reluctantly. "I'll give this back. I guess I'll donate some Legos and trucks to the children's home."

How About You?
Are you ever tempted to do something wrong in order to do something good? God doesn't want you to decide whether or not to obey His commands depending on your situation. When He says, "Don't steal," that's exactly what He means. When He says, "Keep yourself pure," that's what He wants you to do. When he says, "Be kind," He means be kind. Always obey God in everything.

Today's Key Verse:
To obey is better than sacrifice.
(1 Samuel 15:22)

Today's Key Thought:
Always obey God