Contributed by Pearl Ginther

The Moral to this story is that it pays to do our chores faithfully, whether we like them or not.

Farms need many things done every day to keep them going properly. You might have to put some oil in the tractor or the car so it will run.

In the house a clock may need winding up. Or the dog and cat need feeding. Maybe someone has to practice a music instrument or learn a hymn for choir at the coming Sunday Service.

Mama Bergit? Rather than spend time on Sunday cooking three meals, prepared practically everything needed for Sunday's meals on Saturday, so she could devote herself to the Lord's Day without the distractions of meal preparation. She "fenced in" Sunday to keep the Sabbath holy. Papa likewise "fenced in" Sunday in this way: he saw to it he (and the chidren) got the chores done to the point where they wouldn't have to work on Sunday like they did Monday through Saturday.

So fences are very important--if they are to do their job all week long as they ought. Livestock don't know one day from another, we can be sure. We need fences to keep them in, and keep unwanted animals out too.

Fences hold them in so they don't wander out on the road and get run into by cars or trucks.

Fences also stop them from getting into the crops and eating them all up. If you're fencing in chickens and geese and ducks, it's for their protection, so a fox or coyote won't get them.

Grazing animals like cows, horses, and sheep can even ruin the neighbor's corn, so fences are very, very important to everybody in the community.

That's why a good farmer's duty is to walk along his fences and see that they are doing their job. If there's a hole, one of his animals might get out, and also some wild animal might get in! Alfred knew how important fences are on a farm, and he built them himself.

But he also kept watch on them, and if they needed repair he did it on the spot.

What if he found a hole? He couldn't haul the fence in from the fields and do the work in his workshop.

No, he had to fix it where it was.

Sometimes he didn't have his wire cutters along. Was he going to leave that hole then and come back later if he could? No! He knew he had very strong teeth.

They must have been unusually strong, for he could actually cut through fence wire with them! Maybe there came a time that he found he had to stop doing that--it was hurting his teeth, or they were chipping.

Do you have a dentist? Tell him about Papa Alfred Stadem, who cut wire with his teeth! He probably will be very surprised that teeth could be so strong, but Papa Stadem's were!

Alfred's fences needed a lot of care, too. Livestock like cows and horses love to rub their sides on wire fences to scratch and itch, or they shove their heads through any place they can, just to get the "greener" grass outside the fence. You just can't watch them and stop them from doing those things--they are going to do them, being their nature.

In time that makes a hole big enough for a whole animal to get through. No wonder that Alfred was always fixing on his fences.

It wasn't exactly fun. It was real work, sometimes hard and sweaty work, with mosquitoes jabbing him, or flies making a nuisance of themselves.

But it needed to be done if the farm was to go right. Just as important, he wanted to keep his neighbors happy. Any farmer who wasn't doing his job would let his fences go and soon his livestock was running everywhere, doing damage to others and even themselves.

Alfred Stadem, as a God-fearing, neighbor-respecting farmer wanted to make his farm go right, and he also wanted as good a neighbor as he could be, and to do both he had to keep his fences fixed.

Do you have things you must do so that things will go right? What are they? Brushing you teeth? Making your bed? Combing your hair? Practicing your piano lesson? Feeding the cat or dog? Straightening your room? Making your bed? Filling or emptying the dishwasher? They are all things that help make life go better. They also make your Mom and Dad happy when you do them faithfully, right? Excuses don't get the job done either.

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