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It was Saturday. Justin woke up, stretched, and yawned. He could smell pancakes and bacon cooking. “Yum! I’m hungry,” he said as he jumped out of bed.
“Good morning, Justin.” Mom greeted him when he walked into the kitchen.
“Good morning!” Justin sat down at the table beside Ellie. “Good morning, Miss Ellie,” he said.
Ellie smiled and stuffed another bite of pancake into her mouth. “Goo morning,” she said around the pancake.
Justin laughed. What a silly little sister he had.
Dad sipped his coffee. “As soon as you’re finished eating, you can come with me to the hardware store. I need to pick up some screws.”
“Why do I have to go with you?” Justin asked, as he poured syrup on his pancakes.
“Because I said so,” Dad replied with a wink.
Soon Justin was ready. As he went toward the garage to get into the car, his dad stopped him. “Don’t go through the garage, Justin. Wait for me outside.”
Justin was puzzled. “Why can’t I go into the garage, Dad?” Justin asked.
“Because I said so,” Dad said again.
Justin waited by the driveway for Dad to back the car out of the garage. He got into the car, and off they went to the hardware store.
All day long, Justin’s mom and dad asked him to do things that Justin didn’t understand. “Stay out of the kitchen, Justin.” “Go play with Ellie in the family room, Justin.” “Go ask Auntie Bev for an egg, Justin.” But whenever Justin asked why he had to do these things, his mom and dad would just smile and say, “Because I said so.”
Justin was so confused. He didn’t usually have to do these kinds of things. Finally, Justin asked if he could go to Jessie’s house to play. But his mom replied, “No. Why don’t you go to Matt’s house instead?”
“But I want to go see Jessie,” Justin explained.
“No. Go play at Matt’s house for a while,” said Mom.
“Okay,” said Justin, as he went out the door. He found Matt in his backyard playing with his dog, Penny.
“Hey, Justin! What’s up?” said Matt as he rubbed Penny’s silky fur.
“I don’t know,” Justin said. “Everybody’s acting weird at my house today. My mom said I had to come over here and play.”
“Okay,” Matt replied. “You can help me teach Penny to fetch.”
The two boys tossed a stick and tried to get Penny to bring it back. Finally, when they were about to give up, Matt’s mom called out the window, “Justin, your mom says you need to go home now. But she said not to use the front door. You need to go in through the backyard.”
“Huh? How come?” Justin asked.
“Because your mom said so,” replied Matt’s mom as she closed the window.
“Okay.” Justin shrugged. “See you later, Matt.” Justin waved and headed home. He was still thinking about what a strange day it had been as he pushed open his own gate and stepped into his backyard.
“Surprise!” “Happy birthday, Justin!”
Justin jumped back as kids and adults shouted and waved at him. This was a big surprise! Justin looked around the yard. There were balloons and streamers, cake and ice cream, orange punch, and presents piled up on a table in the middle of the yard. And a brand-new shiny blue bicycle!
His mom and dad stood near the porch with Auntie Bev and Uncle Dave. Jeremy and his family were there too, along with kids from school and the soccer team. Then Jessie slid down the slide from the fort, holding Ellie on her lap. “Happy bufday, Justin!” Ellie shouted.
“Are you surprised?” asked Matt as he squeezed through the gate behind Justin.
“I am,” Justin stuttered. “But my birthday isn’t until next week.”
“We figured it would be a better surprise if we celebrated early,” Mom explained as she gave Justin a hug.
Everyone had a great time as they played games, munched on cake, and watched Justin open his presents. Several hours later, they all went home, but Jessie and her family stayed to help clean up.
“Wow! That was a great party! Thanks!” Justin said as he gave his parents a giant hug. “Is that why you kept telling me to do weird stuff today?”
“That’s why,” said Dad. “I was putting your bike together in the garage and ran out of screws, so I had to go to the hardware store. And I took you with me so Mom could wrap some presents while we were gone.”
“Now I get it. I couldn’t go into the garage because the bike was there,” said Justin.
“When I was mixing the batter for your cake, I dropped one of the eggs on the floor. I sent you to get an egg from Auntie Bev,” Mom added, “but I couldn’t tell you why.”
“Why couldn’t I go to Jessie’s house?” Justin asked.
Jessie giggled. “I was coming over here to decorate for the party.”
“I was so confused,” said Justin, shaking his head.
“It’s a good thing you obeyed, even when you didn’t understand,” Jessie said, as she bopped Justin with a balloon.
“I’m glad I did obey, or I would have ruined the surprise,” Justin agreed, as he bopped Jessie back.
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.