Guffaw the Goat and “The Prodigal Son” for Children

imagesI wrote this story for Vacation Bible School at First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga. I loved telling it as much as writing it. I have enjoyed writing Gospel stories where I use animals to draw the children into the story. I pray it might be of some good to someone. 

Remember it must be delivered with the joy of one who, himself or herself, has been reclaimed by Christ!

How much are you worth to God? If someone doesn’t know God or has stopped obeying Him and not wanting His love, Jesus shows us, in three stories, about how much the Father loves you and wants you to love Him.

Jesus tells three stories: a story about a lost sheep, a story about a lost coin, and then finally a story about a lost son. Which do you think is most important? A lost sheep? A lost coin? Or a lost child? Right! Jesus told the story like that to really get our attention and to show how much He loves you.

Now before I get to the Bible story, I want to tell you about a little goat named Guffaw.

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Guffaw was a little boy goat. Goats are called kid, so this was a kid named Guffaw. Well, Guffaw lived on a farm with a nice family and a nice owner named Danny who loved him and took care of him. Guffaw also ate very well. He loved the tasty oats his owner gave him each day (laced with black strap molasses) and every now and then he could reach his head through the gate to the garden and bite into some wonderful azalea bushes. Oh, that was a treat! But Guffaw was always looking over the fence to the outside of the farm. And do you know what he saw? Guffaw saw some crafty cats. Oh, these weren’t ordinary crafty cats, but very crafty cats, bad crafty cats, mysterious crafty cats. These crafty cats had a bad attitude! The crafty cats, one black and one grey, were named Grimy and Grumbler. They had escaped from their homes and just rambling about the way crafty cats do. They looked so free, so happy. “If only I could be like those crafty cats,” thought Guffaw. “I could be a free and happy crafty kid!”Now I tell you again: Guffaw had it all: nice parents, nice owner, nice shed to sleep in and all of the oats he could eat with an occasion Azalea bush. But he kept thinking: if only I could be like Grimy and Grumbler the bad crafty cat. Well, one-day curiosity killed the kid, so to speak, and Guffaw jumped the fence! His father, Randolph, and his mother, Rhonda, saw him, but couldn’t stop him. They wept as he jumped that fence. His mother cried, “Oh, my little kid! We may never see him!” But Randolph his father help his mother in his arms and told her, “I will always wait and be here for little Guffaw. I will wait here by the gate for my kid.” Danny, the little farmer’s boy who was Guffaw’s owner didn’t find out until that afternoon when he came with his oats and black strap molasses. He, too, cried.Well, the day his parents wept and Danny wept was the day that was the day that Guffaw’s crafty adventure began. He followed the bad crafty cats around. He tried to keep up with them as they climbed trees, but a goat cannot climb a tree. He tried to keep up with them as they slept in the windowsill of the farmer’s house, but a goat just can’t get up into a windowsill. Pretty soon, all of the fun wasn’t so fun anymore. He just wanted to go back home. But following the crafty cats got him lost. They went way off into the woods where other crafty cats would gather under the moon and they would all scream and make wild cat sounds. That scared Guffaw. Then they gathered around and ate fried vulture feathers. Have you ever eaten a fried vulture feather? Crafty cats love them. And they ate them right out there in the moonlight in the woods making those screaming noises that wild crafty cats make. Not only did all of that scare Guffaw, but also he could not bring himself to eat fried vulture feathers. He preferred the tasty oats, sometimes laced with black strap molasses and the occasional rose bush, when he could stretch his neck that far. So Guffaw got terribly hungry. So he ate…fried vultures feathers. Yuk! Well, that it for him. The life of a crafty cat was not the life for a good little goat and he wanted nothing more than to just go home. But how could he ever do that? His owner, little Danny, would not take him back. His mother, Rhonda, surely would whip him severely. And his father, Randolph—well, he just couldn’t bear to see his father again. He would be so angry with him. No. His life was over. Ahah! He thought! I will be like a donkey to my owner! I will volunteer to pull his wagon! I will plow his field! I will be his donkey. And my father…well, I will just act like I am not his son.Well, he began his long trip out of the woods and back to the farm. He could still hear the sounds of the crafty cats screaming in the woods, but soon their screams were replaced by another sound…could it be? Yes! It was Danny’s voice! Danny his owner was calling for him: “He-e-re Guffaw! He-e-re little goat!” Guffaw let out a kid yell. How do you think he sounded? What did he holler out? (Bah—–). Right! Well, Danny started out after Guffaw, following the sound of his voice. And Guffaw heard him running and started running towards Danny. But just then: an amazing thing happened: he saw that Danny was holding his father, Randolph. And Randolph broke the leash that Danny had on him and ran at his son! Would he whip Guffaw? No-o-o-o-o-o—o-o-! He licked Guffaw all over and told him, “O my little kid, I love you and I have been waiting for you to come home. I am glad you are my kid.”Guffaw went back to the farm and his mother also licked him all over and nuzzled him and Danny fed him some oats.And the Azaleas were just beginning to bloom.

I hoped you liked that story about Guffaw. You know Jesus told a story too. He told a story about—not a goat—but a boy. And that boy wanted to leave and go to a far country. He took his allowance and left home. He blew all of his allowance with bad, crafty people in that far away land. But then bad times came. And Jesus said that he had to take care of some pigs and for a Jewish boy taking care of pigs was about as bad as it gets. But it got worse. He had to eat pig food because he got so poor. So, he thought: even the servants have it better than I do. I will return and be a servant. As he went back home, though, he saw a beautiful sight. He saw his father. And his father was running to meet him. He had been waiting for him. He would not even listen to him talk about being a servant. Instead, he called him, “My son.”

Now Jesus told this story to show us how God loves us even when we go away from Him. And He also wanted us to see that He wants us to come to Him, not as servants, but as sons and daughters, something much better than we could ever hope for.

Have you come home to Jesus in your heart? Turn from staying away from him, turn from sin, and turmurilloprodigal.jpgn towards Jesus and trust Him by faith. Jesus will always forgive you. But even more than that, like the good father, Jesus will come searching for you. Maybe He is doing that right now. Come home.

 

 

 

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About Michael Milton, Ph.D.

Michael A. Milton, Ph.D. (University of Wales, Trinity Saint David's College), is an American Presbyterian pastor, theologian, and author. He is, also, an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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