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“Justin, that’s beautiful!” said Mrs. Wallace, the new art teacher at school. “You draw very well.”
“Thanks,” Justin replied. “You think it’s really that good? I won a prize for drawing Jessie’s cat once.”
“Really? That’s great! I’m sure with more practice, you could be a very good artist.”
Justin turned to his friend Jessie, who sat nearby working on her picture. “Jessie, see my drawing? You like it? Mrs. Wallace says it’s really good.”
Jessie looked up from her own paper and stared at Justin’s drawing. “Wow, Justin! That is good. I like it a lot.”
Justin smiled and carefully placed his picture in his stack of papers to take home.
Later that evening, Justin showed his drawing to his mom and dad.
“It’s very nice, Justin. I’ll hang it up on the refrigerator so I can see it every day,” said Mom.
“You’ve certainly got talent.” Dad nodded.
The next day, Justin and his friend Jeremy were in the kitchen when Jeremy noticed the drawing on the refrigerator.
“That’s cool!” Jeremy said around a mouthful of banana.
“Thanks,” said Justin proudly. “I drew that yesterday at school.”
“It looks real nice, kind of like the birthday card I got for my Mom. Hey! You could sell your pictures and get rich!” Jeremy suggested.
“Ha! That would be super neat,” Justin agreed.
After Jeremy left, Justin stood staring at his drawing, thinking out loud, “Maybe I could sell my drawings and be a famous artist! I could wear fancy clothes and buy super cool toys. Everyone would say, ‘Hey, look at Justin, isn’t he great?’”
Just then, Mom walked into the kitchen. “If you’re hungry, you can open it and get a snack,” she said with a laugh.
“Huh?” Justin turned to see his mom smiling at him.
“Why were you staring at the refrigerator?” she asked.
Justin was embarrassed. “Um, well, I was thinking about being a famous artist and getting lots of cool stuff. You think I could be famous, Mom?”
“Hmm,” Mom said as she stirred sugar into her tea. “I suppose that’s possible. But being famous and getting cool stuff isn’t really that important, you know.”
Justin frowned. “But it’s fun to get new games and things.”
“I know,” Mom said. “I like new things, too. But that’s not where our hearts should be.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the Bible says that people always look at the outward appearance. They look at what we wear or if we’re talented or famous or rich. But that’s not what God looks at.”
“What does God look at?” Justin asked.
“God looks past all the outside stuff to see deep down in our hearts. He can tell if we really love him and want to use the talents he’s given us to make him happy, or if we’re just showing off to make ourselves happy.”
“Oh,” Justin replied glumly.
“Well, I’m going to see Mrs. Munson. She’s sick in bed again. You can go play with Jessie while I’m gone.”
Mom finished her tea as Justin went out the back door to Jessie’s house.
“Hi, Justin!” Jessie greeted him. “What are you doing here?”
“My mom went to see Mrs. Munson, so she told me to come over here.”
“Oh. Is Mrs. Munson sick again?” asked Jessie. “That’s sad. She’s so nice. I wish I could do something to cheer her up.”
“Yeah, but what could we do?”
Jessie’s eyes got big. “I know! And you can do it better than anyone.”
Jessie jumped up and ran to her room. She grabbed sheets of paper, crayons, and markers then ran back to the kitchen where Justin waited.
“Here,” Jessie said breathlessly as she threw the supplies on the table. “You can draw a beautiful get well card for Mrs. Munson!”
“What? No. I’m not drawing anymore,” Justin said sadly as he pushed the crayons away.
“You what?” Jessie was stunned. “But you’re a great artist!”
“Yeah, but the only reason I wanted to draw was because everyone said I was good at it. I only wanted people to think I was great. I thought I could be famous and get great stuff. But Mom said that’s not the way God wants my heart to be.”
“But Justin, remember what Mrs. Jacobs said in Sunday school last week?” Jessie reminded him. “God gives us talents on purpose so we can use them for him.”
Justin thought for a minute. “You mean if I use my drawing to cheer up Mrs. Munson, that would be a good thing?”
“Right! And God would like that.”
“Okay!” Justin reached for a red crayon. “Help me figure out what to draw on the card, Jessie.”
A few days later, the kids went with Justin’s mom to see Mrs. Munson. When she opened Justin’s card, she exclaimed, “Oh, Justin, this is so lovely! God has given you a great talent, and I’m so happy that you chose to share it with me. Thank you!”
Justin and Jessie smiled at each other. Justin now knew that he could use his drawing ability to make God happy, by making people happy—and that was so much better than just showing off to make himself happy.
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.