Saturday morning John and Maddie raced to the van. They couldn't wait to get to the pumpkin patch. "Today I'm going to find the perfect pumpkin!" Maddie said.
When they arrived at the farm, there were hundreds and hundreds of pumpkins! All different colors and shapes and sizes. Big ones, small ones. Round ones, long ones. Orange, yellow, and green ones. Maddie didn't know where to begin. She was surprised that most of the pumpkins had funny bumps and weren't round and smooth like she had hoped. She kept looking for the perfect pumpkin, but most of them had spots or they were too small or not orange enough.
Maddie looked over at Josh. He hadn't found the perfect pumpkin either. Finally Mom called, "Come on, kids! It's time to go. Just pick one!"
Maddie cried, "I can't find a perfect pumpkin. They all have something wrong with them!"
On their way home with their pumpkins, the kids talked about searching for "the perfect pumpkin." Their mother said, "You know, just like there's no such thing as the perfect pumpkin, there's no such thing as the perfect person."
Mom continued, "We're not perfect because God's book, the Bible, says 'all have sinned' (Romans 3:23). Sins are bad things we say, disobedient things we do, and wrong things we think. And the Bible also says our sins have serious consequences. But God loves us. In fact, he loves us so much that he sent his perfect Son, Jesus-who never sinned-to die on a cross to take the punishment for our sins. And three days later, Jesus came back to life! That proved God had accepted his payment for our sins. When we truly believe Jesus died in our place, God forgives us and promises us never-ending life with God in heaven someday where we'll be perfect inside and out!"
"The Bible says, 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son [to come to earth to die], that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16).
"I want God to forgive my sins," said Maddie, "and make me one of his very own children!"
"Me, too!" Josh said.
If you understand that Jesus died in your place so you can be forgiven, you can tell him in your own words. Or you can use this prayer to help you, if you want:
Dear God, I know that I have done lots of sinful things. I believe that when Jesus died he took the punishment I deserve for my sins. I want your forgiveness, and I want to be one of your children forever. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me!