Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

The Stolen Watermelon

A Character story about honesty.

Jerry's eyes grew large and he swallowed hard as his father placed a large watermelon on the table. His family was very poor so a watermelon like that one was a real luxury! His dad turned to Jerry. "Son, we bought this watermelon because the pastor's family is coming for supper tonight. I don't want you to touch it, do you hear?" Jerry nodded vigorously. "In fact, I want you to stay outdoors while Mother and I run a few errands. We'll be back in about an hour."
When his parents drove away, Jerry sat down on the front step and glanced at his watch. Three more hours before the pastor comes, he thought. That was a long time to wait for his favorite treat! Maybe I ought to check on it one more time, just to make sure it's O.K. He jumped up and headed around the house to the back window. There it was, resting safely in the middle of the table. Jerry's mouth began to water. He couldn't remember the last time he had seen such a watermelon.
Just as Jerry began to turn away, he saw Butch crossing the street. "Hey, Jer, what'cha doin'?"
"J-Just waitin' I guess," Jerry answered. "For supper tonight we're going to have a big, juicy watermelon!"
"What makes you so sure you're gunna have watermelon tonight?"
"Dad said so," Jerry defended. "And anyway, you can see it sitting right in the middle of the table. Look."
"Wow! That's a beut!," Butch shouted. "Let's take a closer look at it, Jer."
"Uh-uh. My dad said I was not to go into the house while they're gone."
"You kiddin'? I'll bet you haven't even checked it out up close. What if the inside is still green, or even rotten?"
"That'd be terrible," Jerry responded.
"You're right there. But you're in luck. I can tell just by lookin' at a watermelon if it's ripe or not. Come on." Jerry followed Butch into the house where they stood in front of the giant melon.
"Well?" Jerry wondered nervously.
"It looks ripe all right," Butch assured him. "But there's a way to be sure."
"Really? What's that?"
"Here. I'll show you." Butch tapped his finger against the side of the melon and listened. "It's called thumpin' the melon. There, ya hear that?"
Jerry put his ear down. "Yeah, . . I think. W-what am I supposed to hear?"
"That deep echo, stupid. That's the sound of a melon that's almost for sure just ripe enough. But we can't be absolutely positively sure without the third test. We'll take a tiny plug out of the melon. When we taste the sample, we stick the green part back into the hole, and no one will ever know. Where's a knife?" Butch cut a plug out of the melon and took a bite. Then he let Jerry take a bit too. Jerry's eyes brightened again. It must be the most delicious watermelon I ever tasted! he thought.
Butch picked up the melon. "Come on, Jerry. You know you can't wait until supper to eat this melon. We'll hide back in those trees and eat it, and your dad 'ill never know."
The two boys ran out behind the trees where they broke open the melon and began to devour its red meat. Butch got the delicious center and left the seedy part for Jerry. Oh, how good that juicy melon tasted! But when they had finished half of it , who should pull into the driveway but Jerry's parents!
"Quick, you cover up these seeds," Butch ordered, "and I'll take the rest of the watermelon and run for it." Jerry quickly covered the seeds and wiped his face as he saw his parents enter the house. In no time he heard his name called.
"Coming, Dad," he shouted back and ran toward the front porch.
"Son, the watermelon is missing. Do you know anything about it?"
"M-missing?" Jerry tried to sound surprised. "Oh, no! And I was looking forward to have that for supper. Who could have taken it?"
"I don't know, Son. I guess we'll just be without tonight when our guests come."
No one said anything about the melon while the pastor and his family were visiting. No one even commented about how little Jerry ate. Jerry tried to forget about stealing the watermelon and lying to his father but several weeks passed before he decided he wouldn't get caught after all.
One Saturday as the family was working in the yard, Jerry heard his name. "Yeah, Dad, what is it?"
"Come over here, Jerry. I want to show you something." Jerry walked over behind a row of trees to see what his dad wanted. "Look here, Jerry. Do you recognize these?"
Jerry looked down to see a small garden of tiny, green shoots. "No. It looks like someone planted a garden here, doesn't it?"
"Indeed it does. Jerry, these shoots are brand new watermelon plants. Someone must have planted a whole lot of seeds here behind these trees. Do you perhaps know who that might be?" Jerry looked at his dad and then began to sob into his hands. His father put his arm around Jerry's shoulder.
"Jerry, I knew you stole the watermelon. But I was praying that you would admit it on your own. God has used these seedlings to show you exactly what Galatians 6:7 means: 'Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' More than watermelon seeds, you sowed seeds of stealing and lying, and reaped guilt and shame. Jerry, I have been praying for some time that you would accept God's free gift of salvation. If you don't accept Jesus as your Saviour, your sin will reap an eternity separated from God."
"Oh, Dad, I'm so sorry," Jerry responded. "I know I done wrong. I-I do want to accept Jesus as my Saviour." And he did. Have you?