With Turnip and Parsnip
Turnip: Hello there, Parsnip I haven’t seen you for a while; how are you?
Parsnip: Fine thanks.
Turnip: You don’t look it; you look rather worried, actually.
Parsnip: Well not worried exactly, I’m just thinking about the best way to get lots of nice sunflowers.
Turnip: Oh. Well you could just go and buy some.
Parsnip: But they’re so expensive, and they don’t last very long. So I’ve bought some margarine instead.
Parsnip: Because it contains sunflower oil.
Turnip: That won’t help.
Parsnip: Oh; are you sure? Well I have found this.
Turnip: Perfume that smells like sunflowers?
Parsnip: Yep; I reckon that should do it.
Turnip: Well that sounds nice, but it won’t actually make sunflowers appear. You need some seeds.
Parsnip: Oh, that’s a good idea. I can make a picture of a sunflower with those.
Turnip: You could, but it wouldn’t be a real sunflower, would it?
Parsnip: Suppose not. So I’m stuck then. Where do sunflowers come from anyway?
Turnip: From these seeds. What you need to do is to plant them.
Turnip: Put them in a flower pot, or in the ground, cover them with earth and water them, then they will begin to grow. Then one day flowers will appear, and you can enjoy them. And when they’ve finished flowering, you can collect the seeds and plant them again next year. Do you see what I mean?
Parsnip: Yes, of course ........ err, no.
Turnip: In this packet you have 75 sunflower seeds, right? You could make pictures or even jewellery out of them, but they’d still only be sunflower seeds. If you want to get nice sunflowers, you have to plant them in the ground and wait for them to grow. Ok?
Parsnip: Hmmm. That might take rather a long time. Are you sure there isn’t another way?
Turnip: ‘fraid not. You have to plant the seeds, look after them and trust that they will grow. Eventually you will have a sunflower which will produce more seeds, and then you can plant them and get more and more sunflowers.
Parsnip: That sounds cool. I love sunflowers; I think they look very cheerful.
Turnip: Don’t forget, you have to be prepared to wait. It may look as if nothing is happening and take a while. But eventually, you will have many beautiful flowers.
Parsnip: It’s amazing that lots of nice, bright flowers can come from these few seeds.
Turnip: Yes. That’s a bit like something that Jesus said you know. He talked about a seed dying and producing a lot more seeds, and he also talked about a person losing their life.
Turnip: No not literally; no one’s going to kill you. What Jesus meant was that if we keep our lives all to ourselves, if we say “I’m just going to do what I want to do” and we spend all our money on things we want, or don’t share our toys or CDs with anyone, then the only person who will be happy is us. But if we share our sweets and our games, help other people when they are in trouble, and try to cheer our friends up, and if we try to do what Jesus wants us to do, instead of what just we want, then we will make lots of people happy. And if we're going to be followers of Jesus, this is the kind of person we need to be.
Parsnip: Followers of Jesus and living useful lives – that sounds even nicer than sunflowers.
Turnip: I hoped you might say that.
This is based on one of Jesus' teachings and can be found in the Bible in John 12, verses 24-26