Bible Reading of the Day: Read 1 Samuel 12:20-24.

Verse of the Day: “Serve the Lord with all your heart. And you must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile” (1 Samuel 12:20-21, NASB).

Peter jumped out of his chair the moment he saw his father enter the principal’s office. “Hi, Dad,” he said nervously.

Dad greeted Peter, shook the principal’s hand, and then sat on the chair next to Peter. He listened as the principal explained the reason for the meeting. Peter had been telling off-color stories and jokes to his classmates. The principal explained that Peter’s behavior was, of course, unacceptable and would need to stop. Dad agreed.

Neither Peter nor Dad spoke until they were out of the school and in the car. Dad inserted the key into the ignition but didn’t start the car. Instead, he turned and faced Peter. His face was serious, but not angry.

“Peter,” he said, “why would you say such things to your classmates?”

Peter seemed to shrink in his seat. He shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. He waited for his father to speak, but silence filled the car. Finally, he said, “I guess I just wanted everybody to like me.”

A few moments passed before Dad asked, “Did it work?”

Peter flashed his father a look of confusion.

Dad repeated the question. “Did it work? Did telling dirty jokes and stories make everybody like you?”

Peter shook his head. “No,” he said. “It just got me in trouble.”

Dad nodded. “What you did was wrong, Son, and I want you to realize that. But I also want you to realize that sin never gives you what you want. You may think that telling bad stories will make you popular, or taking drugs will make you cool, or using bad language will make you feel grown up, but it never works out that way. Because sin can’t deliver what it promises. It just gets you into trouble, one way or the other.”

Peter nodded.

“Sin will not only disappoint you, Son, it will betray you. It’s much better to obey God and do what he says, because he doesn’t want to disappoint you. He wants to do good things for you.” Dad turned to start the car. “I’m sorry, Dad,” Peter said.

Dad nodded. “I’m glad you are, Peter, and I forgive you.”

“Does that mean I’m not going to get punished?” Peter asked, looking hopeful. Dad smiled and shook his head. “Nice try, Son,” he said. “Nice try.”

TO DISCUSS: Peter’s dad said, “Sin never gives you what you want.” Do you agree with that statement? Why or why not?

TO PRAY: “Lord, help us to serve you with all of our heart.”