Sam jumped out of bed Saturday morning with big plans running through his head. Today he was going to work on his fort in the backyard! Dad had given him some pieces of scrap wood to use, and Sam was determined to have the best fort ever built. He hurriedly dressed in some clothes he found lying on his floor, dashed down the stairs, jumped over the last two and landed with a nice thud.
Mom was already busy in the kitchen. “Bye, Mom,” Sam said. “I’m going to work on the fort.”
“Well, you can play for awhile, but don’t forget Saturdays are work days. You will need to help inside in a little while,” Mom reminded him.
“OK,” answered Sam and he flew out the door before Mom could change her mind.
“I hate work days,” Sammy muttered as he made his way to the corner of the backyard where his fort was. “I hate housework! Yuck!” Sam continued. “I want to do REAL WORK. I want to use tools to build things, use the snow blower, or use the chain saw to trim trees. Cleaning my room is boooooooring, and so is taking out the garbage and mopping floors. I hate Saturday work!”
By now Sam had worked himself into quite a bad mood. He got busy hammering with some old nails Dad had given him, and after awhile he began to feel cheerful again…until his loud little brother called him inside.
Robby, Sam’s little brother yelled loudly out the back door, “SAAAMM, MOM SAAAYS YOU HAVE TO COME IN AND WORK NOWWW!”
“Arggg,” Sam Growled to himself. “Maybe if I just ignore him he will go away.”
Robby continued, “SAAAAMM, MOM, SAYS YOU HAVE TO COME INNNN RIGHT NOWWWW AND IF YOU DON’T SHE’S GONNA SPANK YOU AND GIVE YOU ALL SORTS OF WORK IF YOU DON’T COME 1N RIGHT NOWWWWW.
SAAAAMM, MOM SAAAAYS—”
“Alright, ALRIGHT! I heard you the first time,” Sam yelled back impatiently. He walked slowly up to the back door. “Why do you have to yell so LOUD anyway? You’re always so LOUD!” Sam said rudely.
“Nu Uh, Sam, you’re just in a bad mood ‘cause you have to work,” Robby answered.
“OK boys,” Mom said as they pushed and shoved each other into the kitchen. “No more fighting. Now, I made out the work list. It’s on the table. If we get the house clean then maybe we can have company over after church tomorrow night.”
“OK,” both boys answered. Sam went over to look at the list on the table. His eyes about popped out of his head when he saw his list. It read:
Pick up room
Vacuum bedroom and hallway
Take out garbage
Help Mom clean the bathroom
“This is going to take forever!” Sam complained.
“Oh, come on,” Mom said. “It won’t take that long if you just get to it. If you would keep your room clean to begin with it wouldn’t be so hard to pick up.” Mom reprimanded. “Let’s see if we can get this done in record time. If we hurry and do a good job maybe there will still be time to take one last bike ride before the weather gets too cold.”
Sam walked slowly up the stairs. Just then he heard crying and laughing. “Well, the twins must be up.” Sam thought. The twins were eighteen months old and had become quite the terrors. If he didn’t keep all of his prized possessions away from them it wouldn’t be long before the twins totally destroyed them. He had to admit the twins were pretty cute sometimes, but it was frustrating when they wrecked his stuff.
“Sam,” Mom called up the stairs. “Can you get Johnny and Jenny out of their cribs for me, please? I have to make a quick phone call and then I will be right up.”
“Sure!” Sam called back eagerly, looking to do anything to get out of his Saturday chores.
He lifted his sister and brother out of their cribs and turned around. Now where did Jenny go? “Uh oh, she better not go in my—” Sam began to think. Suddenly there was a big crash.
“Jenny!” Sam yelled. “No! No! Bad girl! You can’t play with that!” Jenny had knocked over his box of Legos in his bedroom. “Now I have even more to pick up! Bad girl.”
Jenny started crying and Mom walked into the room. “Uh oh Jenny, were you a naughty baby? You may not play with Sam’s things.” She turned to Sam. “I’m sorry Sam. That’s just part of living in a family. It won’t take that long to pick up.” Jenny cried harder. “I had better feed these two before it gets any later.” Mom left the room holding a crying Jenny.
Sam threw himself on his bed and grumbled, “I wish I could think of an invention that did all of my work for me.” He heard the vacuum cleaner going in Robbie’s room. He was already vacuuming. “Maybe I could pay Robbie to clean my room for me,” Sam muttered. Just then Dad stuck his head in Robbie’s room. He was home from the office early. “I don’t think you are supposed to be taking a nap,” Sam’s dad said sternly. “It looks like you have quite a bit of work to do. The best thing to do is to just do it!” Sam rolled his eyes. “So, get off your bed and start working, son. Next time I see this room it better be clean. Get busy!”
Sam slowly started picking up all of the Legos that had spilled everywhere and he made a dirty clothes pile with all of the clothes on his floor. He worked for a little while longer until he came across his army men, and after ignoring the little voice in his head that told him to obey his parents and keep working, Sam spent the rest of the morning setting up war instead of working. When Mom called that it was time for lunch, his room was still a mess.
“I was hoping we could go for one last bike ride before it got too cold,” Mom said as they sat around the table eating.
“Well, let’s go when we are finished with our meal.” Dad answered.
“I told the boys that we would go when the chores were done,” Mom answered.
“I’M DONE! I’M DONE!” Robbie yelled across the table.
“OK, Robbie, that’s very good, but remember…not so loud.” Dad said patiently. Dad turned to Sam and asked, “How about you Sam? You should have had plenty of time to finish the work that Mom gave you to do.”
“Well, I’m almost done,” Sam lied. Truthfully he had only just begun and then quit.
“Almost is not good enough son,” Dad said firmly. “You will just have to stay home and finish.”
“Aww please…” Sam started to argue.
“No, Sam,” Dad answered. “You need to learn to obey your parents and also to be responsible about working. Staying home from the bike ride will hopefully teach you to do those things. Our job as godly parents is to teach you how to grow up to be obedient to what God teaches us in the Bible. The Bible says we must obey our parents and also that it is wrong when a man does not work. If we obey his Word then we show that we are walking in the light. When we do not obey we show ourselves to be walking in darkness. If the Spirit is in us we will be repentant and want to do what is right. Now go upstairs, think about what I have said, and finish your chores!”
Sam left the table with tears in his eyes. Dad was right. He had been disobedient and lazy. He felt miserable that his parents were disappointed with him. He watched out the window as his family rode away on their bikes. He could almost hear the twins giggling as they rode in the bike trailer. He could hear Robby who was SINGING at the top of his lungs. Sam felt miserable being separated from his family. He knew that it was his own fault, too.
He also felt separated from God. He prayed that God would forgive him for being disobedient and lazy and also for lying. He also prayed that God would give him a cheerful heart to do what he was supposed to do.
Sam got busy cleaning his room and worked on the things on the list. This time he really was almost done when everyone got home. He ran outside to meet his family. “I’m almost finished with everything!” He yelled.
“Great!” said his parents.
“I’m sorry for the way I acted,” Sam said with true repentance.
“You are forgiven,” his parents answered lovingly.
“Mom, when I’m done with my chores may I please work on the fort?” Sam asked politely.
“Yes, that would be just fine,” Mom answered with a smile.
A deep feeling of joy welled up within Sam’s heart. Sam smiled back and gave both of his parents a big hug.