Christian Family Devotionals
"But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" -- Joshua 24:15
Who's in Charge Here?
by Sebastian Stroughter
Fred Canfield, Sr. went away on a business trip and left his home in the care of his four children. Fred Canfield Jr. was eighteen now and it was now time for him to prove that he could to run the house. The other three children, Manny, Janine and Crystal had all been raised well and had been taught to respect their father's home and so Fred Canfield Sr. left the house that Friday night with a sense of confidence. He left the keys to his old Buick with Jr. and drove off in his company car. It would be a week before he would return.
Fred Canfield Jr. took charge immediately and did not have to do much to have the others fall in line. Jr. had been left in charge and they all respected their father enough to do as they were told and listen to their brother. They played quietly, did their homework, did the household chores as assigned and went to bed at the designated hours. Two days went by and there had not been one incident. That Sunday they all piled into the car and went to worship. They attended Bible class as well as morning and evening services just as they had been raised to do.
Monday morning came and the kids woke up early. It was summer and there was no school and so they were able to have a long, big breakfast that Janine and Crystal had prepared. The kids were all very proud of themselves and their father had expressed his pleasure to them everyday when he had called in to check on them. Fred Canfield Sr. would remind Jr. of the rules but Jr. told him that there was no need. Everything was in good order.
Monday afternoon came and the kids were really feeling good about pleasing their father. Jr. began to wonder if there was something more that they could do in order to please their father.
"I want to do something really big for Dad," Jr. said. "I want to do something too," said Manny.
The girls wanted to join in, and so began their quest to try to please their father even more than they already had. Each of the kids began to look around the house to see what they could do.
"I know!" said Jr. "We have a bunch of money saved from allowance. Why don't we put it together and do some things for dad. Fisrt maybe we can get a new chair for him in the living room. We can get rid of the old one that he's had forever." The other kids agreed and by Thursday afternoon it was done.
"Hey! I've got it!" said Manny. "We only have a regular TV. Almost everybody on the block has cable. I'm going to surprise Dad and get cable TV and order all the cable channels. That way dad can watch anything that he wants when he gets back." By Thursday afternoon it was done.
"I have an idea!" said Janine. "We can get rid of his record player and get him a new CD player." By Thursday afternoon it was done.
"I know what we can do!" said Crystal. "We can get dad's car a new paint job. It's got all kinds of sctratches and chips in it now." By Thursday afternoon, that, too, was done.
Friday morning the kids woke up bright and early. They fixed breakfast and waited at the door for their father's return. At 9:00am, Fred Canfield Sr. returned home to his excited children. He was exhausted from his trip, but the sight of his kids helped to perk him up. He was even more pleased when he saw the breakfast that was laid out for him. They whole family sat down and the kids listened as their father told them about his trip and how proud he was of them.
After their father had eaten, Fred Canfield Jr. stood at the front of the breakfast table and made an announcement.
"Father, we really wanted to make you happy and so we chipped in for a few things for you. We really wanted to surprise you with this. Are you ready?"
Fred Canfield Sr. stood up with a big grin on his face. "You're kidding," he said. "You bought something for me?"
Jr. led their father into the living room with his brother and sisters following close behind. He made a sweeping gesture toward the new chair. "It's all yours!" he exclaimed.
"Wow!" Fred Sr. exclaimed. And went over and sat in it. He leaned back and the chair reclined and he smiled broadly. "Thanks! You didn't have to do this," he said. "No problem. We love you, Dad," Jr. said.
Fred Sr. closed his eyes and leaned back in the chair for a moment. After a few seconds he opened his eyes and sat up abruptly. "What did you do with my old chair?" he asked. "We threw it out," Jr. said. Fred Sr's face dropped. "That chair was a family treasure, " he said. "Your great grandfather and your grandfather both used that before it was passed down to me. You all knew that." "I don't know, dad. We didn't think about that. It was just old."
Manny thought that he better throw in his surprise in order to get them out of the hot water that Jr. had gotten them into. "Dad. Check out the TV now!" Manny said.
He turned on the TV and started to turn through the cable channels. He saw his father's eyebrows raise as he turned the channel beyond channel 44, their previous limit and he kept on going until he hit the premium channels. He slowed down to show their father that they now had Showtime, HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel and all of the other subscription services. To Manny' horror, the first channel had a comedy act where there was almost nothing but cursing. He turned as fast as he could, but only ended up turning to a station that showed nudity. "Uh-oh," Manny said.
His father snatched the control away and turned the TV off. "We don't have those channels for specifically that reason. I don't want us watching that kind of stuff here. Besides, now you have the holes drilled into the house where the cable guy installede the lines. What on earth were you guys thinking?"
Janine stepped forward. "Maybe you'll like my surprise," she said. Fred Sr. followed Janine to the dining room where his stereo had been and she showed him the new CD system. "Isn't it cool, dad?" she asked. "Yes, but I don't own any CDs," he replied. "All I have is records. You didn't throw my record player away too?"
It was very quiet in the room. Fred Sr. turned to Crystal. "You don't have a surprise for me too?" he asked.
Crystal led her father to the garage. The other kids did not have the heart to go with her. She opened the door and turned on the light to reveal the new paint job. The Buick was now a bright pink, with purple polka dots. Fred Sr. was speechless. He turned the light off and closed the door. He gathered the kids together at the kitchen table to speak to them.
"I know that you are telling me that you were trying to please me," he said, "but you were all doing things for yourselves here. You've all been tired of that old chair for a long time and so you got rid of it. You've all wanted to have all the cable channels like your friends and so you got that. And were you going to going to paying the monthly bill, too? You wanted to play your CDs out of the stereo system and so you got rid of my record player. And you painted my car with your favorite colors. You didn't consider the embarrassment that it will cause me to drive up to my bowling league with a Barbie car. You only thought about yourselves, kids, and I'm very disappointed. You may all consider yourselves grounded for a week while I figure out how to fix all of this."
So, the kids went to their rooms disappointed in themselves and thought about how even though they had good intentions, they had ultimately disrespected their father's house.
offer worship with any fire they liked (Leviticus 10). Achan thought that he could keep some of the spoils of the conquest (Joshua 7). Ananias and Sapphira thought that they could give whatever they wanted and lie about it (Acts 5). Adam and Eve thought that they could eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree (Genesis 3). Naaman thought that he could dip in the clean river and be freed from his leprosy (2 Kings 5). Moses thought that he could strike the rock (Numbers 20). John 14:15 - "If you love Me, keep My commandments"
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