THE TESTIMONY OF A CHRISTIAN
A Story for children
By Hope Lyman
(when she was 13 years old)
Maria Foster was 15. Tall, with brown hair and blue eyes, she was the only child of the wealthy Jeremy Foster. Her friends all said she was smart-more than anyone else in the small town where she lived. She had been a christian since the age of 8. She could remember it like it was yesterday, going to the revival meetings that took place when the great traveling preacher Peter Cartwright was passing through. For a whole 2 weeks there were meetings every eveing. She had felt her own need on the second night, as though there was a large hole in her life, something missing. Then, on the fifth night, she went forward and Peter Cartwright explained to her how Christ had died to pay for her sins. She had known the story since she was 2 or 3, but that night was the first time she had really seen that it was for her, and she needed the salvation that His death provided. She had prayed that night at the altar at the front of the church, committing her life to the Lord, and promising to work for Him wherever and whenever she could. That was seven years ago. And, as faithfully as she could, she had kept those promises. But now, she was in a dilemma.
It had started that morning in school. That day was the long-awaited evaluation day. A girl that Maria slightly knew, named Julia Morrison, had cheated in school that day. Julia, although she professed to be a Christian, was always mocking Maria’s “sissy” beliefs, such as no dancing or playing cards, and not associating with men who drank any alcohol. But, that morning in school, as the teacher turned away to help another student, Maria had seen Julia open her history book and write down an answer. Julia, who was 16, was the only one who had answered all the questions right in history. Maria knew that if she told the teacher, he might think she was doing it just so that she was ahead in the history class. Would he even believe her? Maria was not sure, and that was why she was now sitting in her room, head in her hands, thinking. She knew her father was away on a business trip and would not be back before next week, so she could not ask for his guidance. Maria suddenly stood up. She opened her door and walked quickly downstairs. Her mother was in the sewing room, working on a dress for poor Mrs. Sullivan’s little girl. Maria sat down next to her. “Mother,” she began. “Yes, dear, what is it?” her mother questioned. And then Maria found herself telling her mother the whole story. As she finished she asked, “Would it be right for me to go tell Mr. Harding?” Her mother paused for a moment, thinking. “Well, Maria, I should think he would like to know if one of his scholars cheated in class. I am sure he will not think you are doing it out of jealousy. Everyone knows how willing you are to help others with schoolwork that they find hard. Yes, I think you should go tell him. Would you like me to go with you?” “Oh, yes, please mother,” Maria responded. She ran back upstairs to get ready. But, before changing, she knelt down and thanked the Lord for giving her such a wise, wonderful mother. She quickly slipped into a dark green dress, and pulled her hair back with a ribbon of the same color as the dress. Going downstairs, she found her mother standing in the hallway in a soft brown jumper and white blouse. Maria had always thought her mother the most beautiful woman on earth, and as she saw her, she again thought so. “Are you ready, Maria?” her mother asked. “Yes, ma’am, I am coming.”
Maria and her mother walked out the door and headed down the street. As they approached the Harding house Maria grew nervous. But her mother walked right up to the door and rang the bell. A maid opened the door. “Please tell Mr. Harding that Maria Foster, one of his scholars, is here.” The maid nodded, “Come right into the parlor, ma’am.” Mrs. Foster and Maria followed the maid in, then she went to get Mr. Harding. A few minutes later Mr. Harding walked in. “Well, Maria, what did you need? Something about school? Why, hello, Mrs. Foster, how are you?” Maria spoke quickly. “Mr. Harding, I came to tell you something about school. Today in history, while you were helping Amy Wellington, Julia Morrison looked in her book for an answer. She kept her history book open while she wrote down a couple answers, then closed it right before you looked back.” Mr. Harding looked grave. “Are you absolutely certain of this, Maria?” Yes, sir, I am. I almost did not come over and tell you, for fear you would think I just wanted to be ahead of her in school.” “Alright, I believe you. I will call both her and her father over right away. Please stay here so you can tell them what you saw.” He left to call them, then came back about 20 minutes later with Julia and Mr. Morrison. Mr. Harding spoke first. “Mr. Morrison, Maria here tells me that your daughter cheated in class today.” Julia spoke up suddenly. “And Maria Foster is a tattletale!” Mr. Morrison looked shocked. “Julia Morrison, I am ashamed of you! You better apologize for that immediately.” Julia suddenly looked ashamed. “Oh, I am sorry Maria. I guess it is just...oh, I don’t know. I have claimed to be a christian for 11 years, and Maria, who has been a christian for only 7 years, is definitely a much godlier person than I am. I want to become a christian like you, as much as is possible, and I am going to take Christ for my helper. Maria, please forgive me for always making fun of you. Mr. Harding, will you forgive me for cheating? I know I don’t deserve it.” Maria was the first to speak. “Of course I will, Julia. I forgave you long ago. I am so glad that you are going to follow Christ. As long as you read and study God’s Word, and pray for help, you cannot go wrong. Another big help I have found are some books written by a woman named Isabella Alden. Also, Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan and Kept for the Master’s Use by Frances Havergal are very good. But, as I said, most importantly, read, study and pray.” As soon as she left off speaking Mr. Harding spoke up. “Yes, indeed, Julia, we all forgive you, and will help you as much as we can. I, for one, realize that I could have been helping you more than I have been I am sorry, and ask you to forgive me.” And so, by one christian’s godly example, one christian was shown how he could work better for God, and another person was reached, and strated working earnestly in the Master’s vineyard.
“And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?”
1 Chron. 29:5b
“I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service.”