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“Please, Craig.” Matt whined at his big brother. “Let me come with you and Dan.”
“I don’t know, Matt,” Craig replied. “You’re too little to hang out with us. Why don’t you go play with your own friends?”
“Aww, they’re boring. I want to do cool stuff like you and Dan. I’ll do anything you say—please?” Matt begged.
“Oh, all right. Come on. Dan’s waiting.”
Matt ran out the front door with his big brother. He proudly greeted Dan. “Hey, Dan! Craig said I can go do stuff with you guys.”
Dan looked at Craig, puzzled. Craig just shrugged and said, “Yeah, well, remember you have to do whatever we say, okay?”
The three wandered down the sidewalk.
“What’re we going to do?” Matt asked eagerly. “Play ball at the park?”
“No, I have a better idea. Let’s play a trick on a neighbor!” said Craig.
“That would be so funny!” Dan laughed. “Who can we play a trick on?”
As they were discussing it, Justin came by, walking his dog, Cookie.
“Oh, hi,” he said and bent down to rub Cookie’s fluffy fur.
“You want to kick the soccer ball around?” Justin asked.
“No!” Matt replied. “I’m hanging out with Craig and Dan. We’re going to do cool stuff together.”
“Really? Okay. See you later.” Justin and his dog turned and walked away.
“That’s weird,” Justin thought. “Craig never lets Matt do anything with him.”
Just then Mrs. Brewster opened her front door. The boys turned to watch her. They could hear her tell her cat, “Now Muffin, stay inside. I don’t want my Sweetie Pie to get lost.”
She closed the door and hobbled down the porch steps, slowly making her way to her mailbox. Her cane clacked on the path as she made her way back inside.
“I’ve got an idea,” Dan said, snickering. “Let’s ring the old lady’s doorbell, then run and hide.”
“Yeah, that’s funny. Come on,” said Craig. “Let’s hide by her house. Matt, you go ring her doorbell.”
“Me? Why me?” Matt exclaimed.
“Because you said you’d do anything. If you’re going to be our friend, that’s what you have to do,” Craig explained with an evil grin.
“Well, okay,” Matt agreed.
He didn’t think it was a very nice thing to do, but he really wanted Craig and Dan to be his friends.
Craig and Dan hid by the house as Matt crept to the front door. He reached up and rang the doorbell—ding dong! Ding dong!
Matt ran to the corner of the house to watch. Soon, Mrs. Brewster opened her door. Her precious cat, Muffin, was tucked under her arm. She held her cane in the other hand as she stepped out to see who was there.
“Hello?” she called. “Who rang my doorbell?”
Suddenly, Muffin jumped down and sped away.
“Muffin! No, no!” The kitty ran down the sidewalk and into the neighbor’s yard before poor Mrs. Brewster could even get down her steps. “Muffin! Muffin! Please come back, kitty,” she cried.
Matt giggled from the corner of the house. “Did you guys see that?” he said to Dan and Craig.
But there was no reply. The older boys were gone.
“Uh, oh,” Matt said to himself, “I better get outta here!”
He turned and ran but skidded to a stop as he came face to face with Justin.
“Matt! What are you doing?” Justin exclaimed.
“Justin,” Matt gasped, “Where’d you come from?”
“Well, it seemed strange that your brother would suddenly let you do stuff with him, so I came to see what was going on.”
“Oh, well,” Matt stuttered. “I was just going to find them. They ran away—chickens!”
“Matt, wait.” Justin grabbed Matt’s shirt sleeve. “I don’t think they were trying to be your friends. I think they wanted to get you in trouble. I saw what happened. They ran away before you even rang the doorbell.”
“But, they said I could be their friend,” Matt replied sadly.
“That’s not what real friends do,” Justin said. “Now Mrs. Brewster lost her cat, and she’s really sad. Muffin is very special to her. Don’t you remember how you felt when Penny got lost?”
Matt remembered how worried and sad he was when he lost his dog.
“Justin, will you help me find Muffin and take her back to Mrs. Brewster?”
“Sure, I will.” Justin smiled. He was glad Matt wanted to do the right thing.
The boys found the cat snoozing in the sunshine by Matt’s house. Justin carefully picked Muffin up and hurriedly walked back to Mrs. Brewster’s house.
Matt rang the doorbell, but this time he stayed right there. Mrs. Brewster opened the door. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying.
“Oh! Muffin, my sweet kitty!” she reached out and took her cat from Justin. “Thank you, boys! I was so worried.”
Matt gulped then said, “Mrs. Brewster, I’m really sorry I made you lose your cat. I was playing a joke when I rang your doorbell earlier. But I know it was wrong. I’m sorry.”
“I forgive you, young man. Thank you for coming back with my Muffin.”
“You’re welcome.” Matt smiled at Justin. “Now I know who my real friends are.”
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.