Once upon a time there were two neighbors, Harry and Joe. Harry loved to take care of his yard and never let his grass get too long or the snow get too deep. On the other hand, Joe was a “get around to it” kind of guy. He never quite “got around” to mowing until the grass was very long and never got around to shoveling until he couldn’t get out of the driveway with his car.
(Ask for two volunteers to be “Harry” and “Joe”.)
One winter morning, Harry looked out his window… (Tell “Harry” to pretend to look out the window.), and said to his wife, “There is a little snow on the sidewalk and driveway. I had better go shovel.” And shovel he did! (Have Harry pretend to shovel.) There was very little snow, so in no time at all, he was stepping back into the house again saying to his wife, “Ah! It feels good out there! That fresh air really woke me up!”
Next door, Joe’s wife looked out the window and said to Joe, “There is a little snow on the sidewalk and driveway. Don’t you think you should go out and shovel?” Joe put his feet up on the couch… (Have Joe put his feet up.), and his hands behind his head (Have Joe put his hands behind his head.) and said, “Nah. It will melt before long.” Then Joe went back to drinking his coffee and reading the newspaper.
Sure enough, Joe was right. The sun came out and the snow melted before the day was out. Joe’s drive and sidewalk had some puddles, but the snow was gone.
A week or so later, Harry got up in the morning and looked out the window again. (Remind “Harry” he is supposed to pretend he is looking out the window.) He said, “It snowed in the night again. We got a little more than last time. I had better go shovel!” True to his word, he put his coat on and out he went and shoveled. (“Harry” should have it down by now, but if he forgets to pretend to shovel, remind him.) It took Harry just slightly longer than the time before since there was a little more snow on the ground. Soon he was stamping the snow off of his boots and stepping back into the house. “Hoo-ee!” He exclaimed! There’s a little bite in the air today! Winter is here to stay!”
Next door, Joe’s wife looked out the window and said to Joe, “It snowed in the night again. We got a little more than last time. Don’t you think you should go out and shovel?” Joe got up from the couch and looked out the window, (Remind “Joe” to look out of the window.), and said, “Hmmm. There can’t be more than an inch out there. I think I can wait until I have more time.” Then Joe went back to the couch, put his feet up and finished reading his newspaper.
Well, Joe was right in a way. There wasn’t more than about an inch of snow on the drive, but when they drove their car over the snow, it packed it down until it made a hard, slippery surface that Joe’s wife slipped on a couple of times walking out to get the mail.
This is the way it went for the next three snowfalls. As soon as it snowed, Harry would go outside and shovel. Harry’s drive and sidewalk looked the same as ever. It was clean and dry enough to ride a bike on, and Harry was getting stronger and stronger because of the shoveling. On the other hand, Joe’s drive and sidewalks were slippery and rutted with dirty, hard, slippery snow. Joe’s wife said, “Honey, if you don’t shovel soon, someone is going to fall!” Joe answered his wife, “Dear, I am having no trouble getting out of the driveway and people should be careful walking in the winter anyway.” Then he went back to the couch with a fresh cup of coffee and put his feet up.
It was just after Christmas, when the radio and television began to issue this warning. “We have a Winter Storm Warning in effect. We are expected to get up to 6 inches of snow by midnight and another 4-6 inches by morning. ”
Harry reached over and shut the radio off and said to his wife. I had better get to bed. I will need to be up early to get the drive and the sidewalk shoveled before I go to work.”
Joe turned the channel and said to his wife. “There is a really good program on tonight. It will keep me up late, but that won’t be a problem.” Joe’s wife just rolled her eyes.
The next morning, Harry was up by 5:00 am, had a good breakfast, bundled up and went out into the blowing snow and cleared away the snow they had gotten overnight. (Harry shovel) He was huffing and puffing a bit, and it took him 45 minutes to do it, but he was finished in plenty of time to pack his lunch and head for work.
Joe overslept. His wife shook him awake and said, “Joe! I don’t know if you will be able to get out of the driveway! We got a lot of snow last night and it has piled up on top of the old snow.” Joe jumped out of bed and quickly dressed. “No time to worry about it. I’ll be late as it is!” Joe threw his coat on without buttoning it, grabbed his cup of coffee and a cookie and ran to his car. (‘Joe’ can pretend to run.) Joe opened the garage door and the drifting snow blew in. He threw the car onto reverse and roared down the drive, through the snow and slid out into the street. Off to work he went.
It continued snowing throughout the day and by the time Joe got home from work; he got stuck over and over trying to get down his driveway and into the garage. He said to his wife, “Honey, where is the shovel?”
Harry was already out shoveling the snow that had fallen throughout the day from his driveway when Joe came spinning his tires down his own driveway. Harry just shook his head and kept on shoveling. It was hard work, but Harry had gotten strong and had gotten used to the cold weather. He didn’t mind the way the full shovel pulled on his back and he could throw each shovel of snow a long distance.
Joe was finally worried about the deep snow in his driveway. Later, after much searching for a shovel, Joe went out into the freezing cold air and stood shivering, dreading the job ahead. What he had failed to notice until now, was that his driveway was layered with hard packed snow that had been covered with heavy, fresh, deep snow. It made him long for his warm house with its comfortable couch. He wanted nothing to do with shoveling. He only wanted to go back inside and drink a cup of coffee and read his newspaper. He sighed and stuck his shovel into the deep snow. (‘Joe’ may be too interested in the story to pretend anymore, so just let him listen.) “Ugh!” he grunted with each little shovel full. He had gotten out of shape through the winter, so he could barely throw the snow far enough to get it to the side of the driveway. “Ugh!” he grunted again and again as he struggled through the deep snow. He just wasn’t getting enough shoveled to even make a path for the tires of his car. His arms were getting heavy and burned with each shovel full. His breath was getting shorter and he was gasping for air. He started to feel weak in his knees and they began to wobble. His ears and nose were getting frostbitten and his hands were cold and raw from the rough handle of the shovel. He stuck his shovel deep into the snow again, but this time, when he threw the shovel full of snow, the shovel flew out of his hands and he fell face first into the snow and lay there. His wife and his neighbor Harry came running to see if he was all right. They helped him to roll onto his back, but he couldn’t get up! He had thrown his back out with the shovel! His wife had to call an ambulance and Joe was laid up for the rest of the winter. Not only that, but he also had to pay $100.00 to a man to plow his driveway; all because he had let the snow pile up deeper and deeper until it was more than he could handle.
The snow is a lot like the times we get angry with someone or sad or hurt. If we don’t forgive whoever has hurt us right away, it piles up in our hearts like deep snow. Our hurts and anger get bigger and deeper and harder to get rid of until we are no longer able to be happy. Just like Harry, every time we have a snowfall of a hurt or anger or sadness come into our heart, we must immediately forgive whoever has hurt us so that our heart can be clean and happy again. Some hurts are heavy, like a very deep snowfall and we need Jesus to help us to forgive the one that hurt us. Just ask Jesus to help you to forgive and he will and you can have a light, happy heart again.
Remember, each of us has caused Jesus hurts, but he forgives us, so we need to forgive others the hurts they cause us. You will never regret forgiving someone, but you will always regret not forgiving, especially when the time comes that Jesus looks you in the eyes and shows you His nail scarred hands. Hands that were nailed to a cross for the forgiveness of the hurts you and I caused Him.
Matthew 6:14,15 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”