A Parable in Patience

Three teenage boys came to their mother while she cleaned house and asked her to take them to the mall so they could go shopping.  Standing up from scrubbing the floor, she stretched out her aching back and said “Later, when I’m done cleaning the house, I’ll take you to the mall.”
The three boys gave each other high fives.  Then they went on with their day, while the mother continued scrubbing the floor. 
The oldest of the boys, Cory, ran a hand through the four hair stubble that grew on his fifteen-year- old chin, and grabbed the phone to tell his girlfriend that she’d have to wait until later.  He daydreamed about the earrings he’d buy to impress her.
Brian, the middle child, started on the X-box - like any other red blooded, American, fourteen-year- old boy.  But he grew bored soon enough, and couldn’t wait to buy a new game when he got to the mall.
James, the youngest, got excited and went to his room to collect his savings for the model airplane he planned to buy.  He almost had enough.  He was just five dollars short.
A half hour later, the mother finished scrubbing the floor. So she wiped the sweat from her brow and started in on the bathroom. Cory came, angrily passing by the bathroom, mumbling under his breath, but loud enough for the mother to hear, “Mom’s never taking me to the store, why did I bother asking her?”
The mother shook her head, but continued cleaning the toilet.  Soon Brian walked in, looked at his mother and sighed, saying, “Mom, you look busy, I don’t know if you’ll have time later to take me to the mall. Can you take me now?”
Blinking her eyes in disbelief, the mother replied without looking up from her toilet, “Later.”
With a bigger sigh, Brian walked away.  Suddenly the mother heard the vacuum being turned on.  The mother, now finished with the toilet, took off her gloves, and looked over the banister curiously.  Below, James vacuumed the living room.   With a smile, the mother went back to spraying Lime Remover on the shower curtain.
Another half hour passed, and with the bathroom finished, the mother headed to the laundry room to fold clothes.  Cory walked by while on the phone with his girlfriend.  He spoke loudly, in the hopes that the mother would overhear him saying, “I wished I called Greg to take me to the mall, I don’t think my mother is ever going to bring me.”
Swallowing down her anger, the mother picked up another pair of plaid boxers and folded them violently.  Brian peeked around the corner, chewing his nails and asked, “Really, Mom, later might be too late.  I think you should take me now, I don’t believe you’ll have time to take me later if you don’t take me now.”
“Later.” The mother said through clenched teeth, making it seem as though the word had more syllables than two.
Huffing, Brian stomped away. Now finished with the laundry, the mother headed to the boys bedrooms to put it away.  The first was James room, where she found the boy finishing making his bed.  James turned around and said, “Thanks Mom, I’ll take those.  And have I told you how much I love you, and thank you for agreeing to take us to the mall later.  I know you’ve been busy all day.” 
And with a smile he started putting away his laundry.  The next bedroom belonged to Brian, where she found the boy laying on an unmade bed, X-box controller in his hand, lamenting his boredom.  “If only you’d take me to the mall now,” The boy said as the mother started to put away his laundry in the drawers, “then I wouldn’t be so bored waiting for you to take me - which you probably won’t, anyway.”
Shaking her head and rolling her eyes she headed out of the middle child’s bedroom.  And into Cory, the eldest’s she entered.  As she opened his door, she was struck by a horrid smell.  Cory sat, busy typing away at the computer.
 “What is that smell?” She asked.
With a shrug of the shoulders, Cory kept typing. 
On the bedside table sat a half eaten Cheese-whiz and canned pineapple sandwich.  The corner of Cory’s pillow laid in the molding mess.  With a gag, the mother placed his laundry down on top of the dresser, moving hair care products and CDs out of the way.  She picked up the plate and the pillow and started out of the room.  As she headed out she peeked at the computer and saw her son’s status update: “Mom’s giving me grief again - She’s never taking me to the mall. :(”
Shaking her head she couldn’t decide whether to head to the laundry or kitchen first with her new charges.  Since the laundry room was on the way, she stopped there for the pillow case.  Then headed to the kitchen sink with the plate.  Looking over the kitchen sink and out the window, she saw James washing her mini-van.  Taken aback, all she could do was stare for a minute. 
“Unbelievable,” she smiled.
The only thing left to do was to make dinner.  As she finished peeling potatoes, the two older boys plopped down on the stools at kitchen bar.  James came in and gave his mother a hug saying, “You’re the best mom ever.  You’ve never broken a promise to me, and I can’t wait until you’re ready to take me to the mall.”
Brian snickered at his little brother and said, “Yeah, right.  She’s never taking us to the mall.”
Cory shook his head and answered, “I know, right.  I wished I’d asked someone else before they all left to go.”
The mother hugged the youngest boy, and kissed him on the forehead.  She then turned to the other boys and said, “I’m done, and ready to go to the mall.  However, each of you have decided your own fate.  Brian, I am not taking you to the mall now or later.  Cory, you should have asked someone else, because I’m not taking you.  And James, because you knew that I would take you, grab my keys, let’s go.”
The two older boys sat slack-jawed on their kitchen stools.  James had already decided that he’d try to get a cheaper model airplane, since he couldn’t afford the one he wanted. But as he told his mother, she gave him the money he needed for the better plane and extra to buy red paint.
When we ask God to give us what we want, do we believe he’ll give it to us?  Do we walk by faith: patiently waiting in obedience to what we know God would want us to do, even if He didn’t ask?  Do we murmur and complain or do we thank Him for His faithfulness?  Do we believe that when we ask for bread He’ll give us a stone, or do we believe He’ll give us more and better than we ask?  Think on it!

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