A Children's Day Thought for the Entire School—The Live Branch.
THE LESSON—That as the fruit tree fulfills its mission only when surrounded by proper conditions, so, also, must the child be provided with the conditions which will help him to bring forth fruit in the Christian life.
The illustration here given po
[Before beginning the talk, draw the bare limb in brown.] "What is this? A dead branch, did you say? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We are supposed to be looking at it in the winter time, and, of course, it isn't real easy at first to tell whether it is dead or merely sleeping; but if we examine it closely we can tell, because the leaf-buds are formed in the autumn, and if the limb is alive we shall find the little leaf-buds there. [Examine the branch.] Yes, the branch is alive, for the little leaf-buds are clustered everywhere, waiting to burst forth into full-grown leaves. [As you speak, touch the limb here and there with green and then draw the clusters of full-grown leaves.] And here, too, I find some little pink buds, and a little later they open into pretty flowers, for this is the limb of an apple tree. [Add the flowers, completing Fig. 94.]
"And then, as time goes on, we witness another interesting change, because God intends that the tree shall do more than bear leaves and flowers. We find that the pretty pink flowers which have filled the air with their fragrance and gladdened our eyes with their beauty have gone away, and in their places have come little green apples. [With green chalk draw the green apples just large enough to cover the blossoms.] Green apples are good things—to leave alone, so we will not pick them. We will watch and see them change into something else. [With red chalk draw the large ripe apples, covering up the green surface. This completes Fig. 95. If the green doesn't disappear entirely, it doesn't matter. It is well, however, in drawing the green apples, to use as little of the color as possible.] And now we have the ripened fruit of the apple tree.
"This part of the story is for the little boys and girls. But we must say a word also to the boys and girls of the junior and intermediate classes. It is this: That the branch of the apple tree, in bringing forth in its time the leaf-buds, the leaves, the blossoms, the green apples and the ripened fruit, has done nothing excepting that which God planned that it should do. He asks of it no more and no less. That is its duty. The lesson for us is this: He expects us to do our full duty, just as the branch of the apple tree has done. He asks that we bring forth the fruits of service, of sacrifice, of cheerfulness, of kindness, of love and of humility. He has surrounded us with the things which make it easy to do this. Let us find out the best way for us to do it and enjoy real living as we bring forth fruit for Him.
"And I would also add a word to the seniors and the adults of our school, as well as to the visitors of the day. We all know that the branch cannot bring forth its fruit unless it be a part of the tree. Christ has said, 'I am the vine,' and unless we get the children, attached to this true vine, their lives cannot bear Christian fruit. He is our support and our life. Just as the branch must have the sunlight and the warmth for its development, so must each one of these children have His love and our love and our help to live Christian lives.
"It was the Master who said, 'Herein is my father glorified, that ye bring forth much fruit' In helping these little ones we are ourselves bringing forth fruit. I believe that in this service, side by side with these children in the Sunday school, we shall find our Christian experiences enlarged and blessed. Let us pray, then, that each of these precious lives may be 'like a tree planted by the streams of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf doth not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.'"