A Broken Trust Psalm 8:6

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands. Psalm 8:6

Once upon a time there was a great artist who painted a beautiful picture. It was so wonderful that people stopped to gaze at it and to admire the marvel of its workmanship. Into it the painter had put all the love, all the joy, all the hope of many years.

Now it so happened that the artist was called abroad and he knew that he might be absent for a long period; so he resolved that he would give the wonderful picture into the keeping of his little son. Next to the boy himself, it was the most precious thing he possessed. But he said, “I will give it to my child to help him and to comfort him, and he will take care of it for me.”

Now when his father had gone the boy said, “Here is something my father has given to me. It is mine to do with as I will. Let me destroy it!” So he seized a great brush and daubed black paint over it, obliterating the beautiful blue skies and the peaceful hills; then he scratched it with a sharp instrument; and finally he cut it in shreds with a sharp knife.

When the father returned he was sorely vexed. He was grieved at the destruction of his beautiful handiwork, but he was even more grieved at the destruction in the boy’s heart. For the damage that had been done in the picture was copied there. The child’s heart was blackened and defaced and torn.
Boys and girls, that story is a parable. I wonder if you can read it. Our Father in Heaven created many wonderful things. He formed the hills, He made the sea and the sky, He planted the flowers and the trees. Then He created what, next to man himself, is His most marvelous work—He created the birds and the beasts and the insects. Last of all He made man. And He said, “I want the man whom I have created to be happy. I will give him of my best, I will give into his keeping these creatures whom I love and into whom I have breathed the breath of life. They will help him and comfort him and make him glad, and he will take care of them for me.”

And how did the sons of men fulfill their trust? Some of them kept it nobly. But there were many others—and among them were boys and girls—who abused it shamefully. They lashed their horses, they tormented cats, they stole the eggs the poor mother- bird had laid and had watched over with such love and care. They caught the gorgeous butterflies that were fluttering and rejoicing in the summer sunshine and they killed them for their collection. They shot tame pigeons with their catapults. They forgot to feed their rabbits and their canaries. And the heart of the great Father God was sorely grieved.

For, boys and girls, when we ill-treat or neglect or wantonly destroy animals there are three that we hurt.

We hurt God who made them and who loves them.

We hurt the creatures themselves. That goes without saying.

We hurt ourselves. We are putting great stains on our hearts. We are making ourselves harder and coarser and more brutal. It may interest you to know that a writer in one of our papers has told us that, out of seven thousand children who were taught in a large public school to be kind to animals, not one was afterwards charged with a criminal offence; and that out of two thousand criminals in American prisons only twelve had ever had pets when they were young.

And remember that being kind to animals doesn’t just mean not ill-treating them. It means looking after their comfort and their food. For it is better to put an end to a beast than to starve it or neglect it. The creatures depend upon us, and if we neglect them we are guilty of a mean act, we are guilty of breaking a trust.

And it means, too, loving them and sympathizing with them and doing our best to make them happy. For animals have feelings, feelings far deeper than we imagine. They know the touch of a person who cares for them.

And, boys and girls, that love will be amply repaid. It will be repaid tenfold in the dumb devotion of your horse, or your dog, or even your cat—yes, even your cat!

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James Hastings' Children's Great Texts Of The Bible - This material seems appropriate for children ages 8-12.  Like the Great Texts Of The Bible (For Adults), this series examines the Great Texts of the Bible, but from a child's perspective.

Each section begins with a scripture, and Hastings uses illustrations to relate the meaning of the passage for a child's life.  Hastings focuses on practical lessons and the moral of the story that children might apply to their lives.

Because Hastings studied the classics as an undergraduate, many sections include classic poems and classic literature quotes.