Shant Shinanigens couldn’t understand why grown-ups always asked him to do things. ‘It’s like they haven’t a clue about life at all,’ he sighed as he propped himself up against the garage wall. ‘They always need me to help them. Can’t they see I’ve enough on my plate without having to run around after them!’
Shant stretched his legs and yawned. There was just enough juice left in the bottle for another glass or maybe two. The sun was shining. There were a lot of weeds to pull out in the garden, roses to water and a lawn to mow – but Shant just carried on drinking his orange aid. When his mother saw him pouring the last of it into his glass she asked Shant to nip down to the grocers to buy another bottle.
‘Shan’t do that,’ Shant exclaimed. ‘It’s far too far to walk on such a hot day like this.’
His mother sighed, picked up her handbag and went to the grocers herself. Shant’s little brother came with her. He opened the door for her at the grocers and carried some of the shopping. As they were walking past the park Shant’s mother noticed a hot-air balloon was offering free rides. There wasn’t even a queue so Shant’s little brother got lifted over the edge of the basket and before too long he was high up in the air. You could see the whole of town from the basket and you could even spot Shant still propped up against the garage wall with an empty juice glass in his hand.
Not long after Shant’s little brother had got out from the hot air balloon – Shant’s granny paid a visit. She had an errand that she wanted Shant to do for her. Her bad back meant that she couldn’t make it all the way up the hill to visit her friend with the sore throat. Granny had just made her friend a lovely sponge cake. ‘Can you take this cake up the hill to my friend at number 29?’ granny asked kindly. ‘It would be such a help. It would really cheer her up to get a nice bit of cake.’
Shan’t sighed with frustration. ‘I shan’t do that,’ he exclaimed. ‘Can’t you see what a hot day it is? Your friend won’t want cake on such a hot day.’
Granny looked a bit disappointed but said nothing. As she was crossing back over the road Shant’s mother and little brother were just arriving. ‘Would you mind going on an errand for me?’ Granny asked. Shant’s little brother agreed and immediately he set of up the hill, carefully holding the sponge cake. It was quite a long walk but there was just so much to see. As well as a galloping horse in the near-by field and a hand-glider over the top of the hill he saw twenty-five motorcycles revving up to go on a long journey. One of the bikers took a photograph of him sitting on a bike. Then when he arrived at number 29 the lady gave him an ice cream from her freezer as a thank-you.
Just as Shant’s little brother returned from his trip Shant’s Dad returned from work. ‘I need some help tidying out the garage,’ he told Shant when he’d changed out of his suit. Shant grimaced. It had been far too hot for him to go to the grocer’s or to walk up the hill now it was far too nice a day to be inside the cold damp garage. Shant’s father saw the look on his son’s face and guessed what he was going to say before he said it. ‘Very well then. I suppose you shan’t want to come with me to the hardware store to buy the extra nails I need either?’
Shant was sure that he didn’t want to do that. The hardware store was dusty and boring and he’d much rather play football in the backyard this evening. Dad asked Shant’s little brother to come instead.
At the hardware store they were handing out free footballs for the store’s anniversary celebrations. The fire-brigade were also giving a demonstration and Shant’s little brother got a shot in the engine with the sirens going full blast. He even got his photo taken with the fire-men and the following day it was on the front page… along with a photograph of him on the hot-air balloon and the photograph of him sitting on the motorbike.
When Shant came down that morning to eat his breakfast he just sat and stared at the paper as he ate his cereal. There were so many things that he hadn’t done yesterday – and it was all his own fault.
Oh dear – poor Shant – but he’s only got himself to blame hasn’t he. When people ask us to do things we shouldn’t be selfish and grumpy. People do things for us and we need to learn to do things for others.
But there’s one person who we always need to obey – it’s very important that we learn obedience to God. When we obey God we get a blessing – but when we chose not to obey God then we miss out on that blessing.
Now Shant’s little brother had some extraordinary good luck. Don’t think that every time you’re obedient to your parents or grandparents you’re going to end up with a hot-air balloon on your doorstep or your photo in the local newspaper. That’s just a story – but a fun one all the same. However, when you obey God you do get blessings – you get spiritual blessings that last forever. Ice cream only lasts for a few moments. The fun times you had yesterday will be forgotten in a few months. But the blessings of forgiveness, mercy, salvation, and a friendship with God will go on and on and on for all eternity. Don’t be like Shant who thought that all the things that people asked him to do were either too hard or too difficult or too boring. God never asks us to do things that are too hard and he gives us everything we need and more.
1 John 5:3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.
Luke 11:28 Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.