"BEN! TIME TO COME IN!" mama called from the house to her five-year-old boy. Ben had been playing in the backyard most of the day. The warm summer sun sunk lower into the horizon. The singing birds had sung their last melodies and were nesting for the evening. Daddy had finished his chores in the big, red barn and the animals were resting satisfied for the night. Mom had brought in the dry, crisp laundry from the sagging clothesline. Ben knew his day was almost over.
Ben didn't WANT to come in. All day long he had played outside in the woods near their home. There was a creek where he could wade and hunt for crawdads and trees he could climb and reign over his vast domain. He made a fort with sticks and leaves where he could hide from FUROCIOUS beasts...and find lots of creepy crawlers! He loved being the Indian Chief with his pretend bow and arrow and shooting at imaginary buffalo! He liked being the DRAGON-SLAYER and TARZAN and TOM SAWYER! But mama was calling and he knew he had to obey.
Reluctantly, he threw his branch on the ground and stomped his imaginary sword in half with his foot. He didn't think it was THAT dark or THAT late. He picked up a rock and threw it at a tree and then kicked the pile of wood for his imaginary bon fire. Mama called again. He folded his arms and gave a stern glare toward the house. He decided to hide from mama in his fort.
"BEN, I'M GOING TO COUNT TO 5 AND YOU WILL RUN BACK TO THE HOUSE OR TOMORROW YOU WILL ONLY PLAY INDOORS." mama announced.
Ben's glaring yes opened WIDE.
"INDOORS??" he thought.....
"...2....3..." mama counted from the distance.
Ben left the fort running back to civilization faster then jack-rabbit. His mama directed him right to the bathroom where Ben looked in the mirror at his filthy body. Could he be any more dirty?? He could barely recognize himself.
Sitting in the tub, mama had fun washing the filth and grime from her naughty, dirty boy. She almost couldn't believe the difference a little soap and water made in his appearance. In spite of his wishes, she made that boy clean again!
"Oh, Ben, you must always obey right away when you are called." mama said with conviction, as she continued scrubbing. "That was very wrong to lose your temper and run away. GOD was not pleased."
Ben started feeling sorry for what he did. He remembered the Bible story daddy told him about when Jonah was swallowed by a whale for not obeying.
"I'm sorry, mama." Ben confessed.
"I want to show you something, Ben." mama said as she wrapped her young boy in an over-sized towel and placed him in front of a full mirror. "Look at your skin and hair now. Do you see how CLEAN you look? All the dirt is GONE!" she said.
Ben's eyes brightened and a big smile shown on his face.
"You look wonderful!" mama cheered. "Did you know the Bible says that man looks on the outward appearance but GOD cares what's on the inside and if our HEART is clean!"
Ben gave a funny look.
"Not that we use soap and water, but the Bible says JESUS wants to wash away our sins inside our hearts and make us CLEAN and white as snow!"
"Oh, mama, I want JESUS to wash my insides, too!"
Mama helped Ben pray and ask JESUS to forgive his bad attitude and disobedience. She gave him a big hug and he gave her a squeaky, clean grin.
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