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“Wow! That one’s so cool! You want to trade for this one?” asked Jeremy as he sorted through his stack of trading cards.
“I don’t know. It took me a long time to get him. I think I’ll keep it. But I can trade this one,” said Jeremy’s soccer teammate.
The two boys discussed the trade until they heard the whistle. “Come on, team!” Coach Martin called. “We should get started with soccer practice now.”
Jeremy hurriedly stashed his cards in his bag and ran to line up with the rest of his teammates.
After a long, tiring practice, Jeremy sat down for a rest while he waited for his ride home.
“Hey, Jeremy,” said Justin as he flopped down beside him. “I’m nervous about the game on Saturday. It’s pretty important.”
“Yeah, it is,” Jeremy replied. “But you don’t need to worry about it. Hey, did you see my new trading cards? I got some great ones in my pack yesterday!” Jeremy rummaged through his bag looking for his new cards.
Just then Coach Martin walked toward them. “Justin, I’d like to use you more in the game on Saturday. You’re passing has really improved! If you and Jeremy can practice your goal shots each day this week, I think you’ll feel more confident to score in Saturday’s game.”
“That sounds great, Coach Martin,” said Justin eagerly.
“Okay, Jeremy. Will you do this special job for me?” Coach Martin asked.
Jeremy didn’t answer. He was busy looking at the new card he got earlier.
“Jeremy?” Justin nudged him.
“Huh? Oh, yeah. Right,” Jeremy replied. “I can work with Justin. Sure.”
The next day after school, Justin raced over to Jeremy’s house with his soccer ball. But when he knocked on the door, Jeremy’s sister, Emily, answered.
“Jeremy isn’t here,” she said. “He’s at Patrick’s house trading cards.”
“But he was supposed to practice with me,” Justin said, confused.
“Sorry,” Emily said as she shrugged.
Justin trudged back home. He felt hurt that Jeremy would forget about him like this.
When bedtime came, Justin slouched down under the blankets while his dad tucked him in.
“Did you have a good practice with Jeremy today?” Dad asked.
“No. He wasn’t home. Emily said he was trading cards at Patrick’s house.”
“Really? That doesn’t sound like Jeremy. Well, maybe tomorrow,” Dad said reassuringly. “Don’t worry. Good night, Kiddo.”
Justin closed his eyes. “But I am worried,” he whispered to himself. “I sure hope Jeremy will help me tomorrow.”
The next day, Justin raced down the sidewalk to Jeremy’s house and rang the doorbell.
“Oh, hey, Justin,” Jeremy greeted him at the door.
Justin let out a sigh of relief. “Hi, Jeremy. We have to hurry up and practice. I’ve got to go to Kids’ Club at church, so I don’t have much time.”
They went out back, and Jeremy showed Justin how he always aimed and kicked to score goals. “Now you try it,” he directed.
Justin lined up the ball and was just about to kick it when Emily shouted from the back door, “Jeremy! Patrick’s here. He says he needs to show you something.”
“Okay! I’ll be there in just a sec,” Jeremy replied. Then turning to Justin, he said, “I’ll be right back.”
Justin looked at Jeremy. “But I don’t know if I’m doing this . . .” The back door slammed as Jeremy rushed into the house, leaving Justin standing by the soccer ball. “. . . right,” Justin finished saying.
Justin kicked the ball and missed the net completely. “I’m the worst player ever! I’m never going to score,” he huffed as he picked up the ball and headed home.
A few minutes later, Jeremy came back out. “Justin. I’m back! Justin?” He looked around, but Justin was nowhere to be found.
The next afternoon, Jeremy ran to Justin’s house.
“Hi, Justin. I’m sorry I left you yesterday, but Patrick got a new pack of trading cards that just came out. He said I could have first pick! They’re super cool! You wanna see them?”
Justin shook his head. “No, thanks. I wish you would forget about those stupid cards and help me. I just want to be able to make one goal in the game Saturday.” Justin glared at Jeremy.
“My cards aren’t stupid!” Jeremy glared back at Justin and was about to walk away when he noticed that Justin had tears in his eyes. “Justin, I’m sorry. You’re right, it was stupid of me to ignore you and not do my job because of those cards.”
Justin sniffled. “I’m really nervous, Jeremy. Saturday is only two days away, and I’m so afraid I’ll make us lose.”
“If you’ll give me another chance, I promise to help you practice as much as we can today and tomorrow—and no more trading cards,” Jeremy said.
“Okay.” Justin smiled and followed Jeremy to the yard to practice.
Finally, Saturday came. The game was tied 2–2, so Justin’s team, the Tigers, needed a goal to win. Jeremy stole the ball from a player on the other team and ran with it down the sideline. Then he saw Justin sprinting hard toward the goal.
“Justin!” he shouted as he passed the ball. “Shoot!”
Justin saw the ball roll perfectly in front of him. He gave the ball a strong, steady kick just like Jeremy had taught him, and off it sailed—right into the net! Goal!
As the Tigers mobbed Justin, cheering and slapping his back, Justin looked at Jeremy and mouthed, “Thank you!”
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.