It Pays to Obey
TEXT: Mark 5:18-20; Ephesians 6:1-9
The accident taught Stella and Chase the importance of listening to their parents.
Stella looked out the window with only one thought on her mind. Those logs. They were just a bunch of old snags, tossed up on the beach. Twisted roots poked up in all directions. The logs looked like a perfect jungle gym. Why had Mom told her that she couldn’t climb on them?
Ever since Stella, her younger brother Chase, and their parents had arrived at the little resort by the lake, Stella had been eyeing that huge stack of wood. But they had hardly been settled in the cabin where they would be staying when her mom had told her she was not to climb there.
She turned away from the window. What could be so wrong in climbing on a bunch of old logs? She’d hang on tight and be careful. A thought flickered through her mind, and she mulled it over. Then she told her folks she was going for a walk.
“Chase, I’ve got an idea!” she whispered in his ear. “C’mon outside and I’ll tell you!”
A short time later the two of them ran along the sand until they came to the pile of logs. Climbing them was just as much fun as she thought it would be. In just a few minutes Stella gave Chase a final boost, and the two of them stood teetering high atop the logs. It was so quiet and peaceful, and what a view! Why, Mother should just try coming up here herself and see how easy it is, and how much fun. What could possibly be wrong with climbing up here?
Stella sat there enjoying her “victory” of reaching the top, and half wishing someone could see her now. “Well,” she said at last, “I suppose we’d better start down before someone misses us.”
Then it happened! Stella slipped, and a moment later she was lying in the middle of all those old snags, with blood spurting out of a nasty gash on her leg. She began to cry. “Chase, go get Mom and Dad,” she sobbed. It wasn’t long until her parents were slowly carrying her back to the cabin. The wound was too deep for them to bandage properly, so out to the car and down to the mountain lodge for some first aid they went. “It’ll be a long time before that will heal up,” the attendant in the first-aid office warned, “and it will probably leave a scar. In the meantime, you’re going to have to stay off your leg for several days to give it time to heal.”
The next morning after breakfast, Stella’s dad turned to Ephesians 6:1 in his Bible, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right,” he read. “What does it mean to obey? Well, you might not always get to do things just the way you want to. But it’s important to follow the instructions of those in authority. Lots of times it is hard to do what you are told, isn’t it?” her dad asked. Stella looked down and gave a short nod.
“That’s not unusual,” her dad told her. “It’s part of human nature. From the day in the Garden of Eden when Eve disobeyed God, that has been true. Something inside rises up and wants to have its own way, but God can take that out of a person’s heart.
“Look at some examples in the Bible where people obeyed and were blessed. Remember Naaman? When he obeyed and dipped in the muddy Jordan River seven times, he was healed. Abraham was blessed to be the father of a nation. He purposed to obey God even if it meant his son’s life. Moses obeyed and, through him, God worked many miracles.
“In the New Testament, do you remember the man who was healed of the evil spirits that possessed him? Afterward he wanted to follow Jesus wherever He went. However, Jesus told him to stay at home and tell his friends the great things the Lord had done for him, and he obeyed!
“You see, it’s not just children who must learn to obey. Even as adults it is necessary. We obey God by following all the instructions He gives us in the Bible, and by doing anything He reveals to us or leads us to do. We obey our ministers and follow the guidelines of our church because God has provided the ministry to watch for our souls. We also obey and follow the rules of our country.
“As your dad, I need to help you learn to be obedient. Each day when I wake up I ask God to guide me through the day and show me what things He wants me to do. I pray for you too, Stella and Chase, that God will guide you. I want to be a faithful father to you, and to lead and instruct you in the right way. It is God’s plan that children obey their parents and their parents obey God. Think of the obedience God required of His own Son—Jesus let Himself to be nailed to the Cross to die.
Tears trickled down Stella’s face. “Mom and Dad, forgive me,” she said. Then, as she bowed her head and poured her heart out to God, God’s peace and forgiveness flooded her heart and her tears turned to rejoicing. She knew that from now on God would help her obey her parents.