Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Anders yawned sleepily and rubbed two chubby fists over his eyes. He had just woken up and was still a little drowsy. He got out of bed and began to undress. Pulling a fresh shirt over his head, he heard his stomach growl angrily. “I’m hungry!” he announced to his brother’s sleeping form, and before you could say Tiddlywinks, the boy was down the stairs and through the kitchen door.

“Good morning, Anders,” said Mother, as she bustled about here and there. “Mornin’,” was the muttered reply, while one hand fished in the cereal drawer. Ah! Cinnamon Toast Crunch, his favorite! Anders climbed onto a stool and gathered his bowl and spoon. Then he ran to the fridge to fetch the milk. It wasn’t long before he was sitting before a mound of delicious, sugary squares doused in gallons of milk. After saying a quick prayer, Anders dove in.

Spoonful after spoonful, Anders worked like a little steam shovel. For a few minutes he was shoveling at an alarming rate, but after a while he slowed down to a nice even pace. MMMM! It was so good! Soon sisters and Big Brother were appearing for their breakfasts, too. Daddy was next — but he had a bowl of Wheaties for his morning meal. Yech! Thought Anders, glancing disdainfully at the colorless mass in his father’s bowl. Cinnamon Toast Crunch was much better.

Time wore on, and Anders found that his cereal didn’t taste quite so good anymore; the longer it sat, the soggier it got, and the less he liked to eat it. Being only a chap of five years, he couldn’t eat so fast as Big Brother, and the cereal was winning in the race against sogginess. Anders began to feel very full. The bowl was only half empty, and Daddy had said many times how dreadful it was to waste, but Anders couldn’t see how he could ever lift another spoonful of that awful cereal to his mouth. Why, his stomach should explode if he even tried! No, best get rid of the stuff. Anders carried his bowl to the sink and ceremoniously dumped its contents down the murky drain. Having rinsed out his bowl, Anders was just leaving the kitchen when:
“Anders? Anders, did you finish your breakfast?” Daddy’s voice! Anders shuffled backinto the kitchen. Daddy was just finishing his horrid breakfast of flavorless flakes. He looked up when his son walked in. “Anders, did you finish your cereal?” Anders rubbed his foot across his ankle and shifted uncomfortably. “Almost. . .” he murmured. But Daddy knew the truth. He had an uncanny way of always knowing the truth that Anders had not yet figured out. “Anders, how many times have I told you not to waste? You had enough cereal left to feed Baby, and you dumped it down the drain! Now I must work an extra ten minutes just to pay for your wastefulness. That milk and cereal probably cost one dollar.” “But only one dollar — ” “One dollar I have already spent to buy your breakfast!” interrupted Daddy. “You are being a bad steward, son. I am disappointed with you.”

Anders didn’t like to be corrected. He felt ashamed — embarrassed! And in front of all his siblings, too. It was silly for Daddy to make such a fuss over some milk and cereal, only worth a dollar! Wait — a dollar! There, that would fix everything! Anders raced to his room and shook a few quarters out of his money pouch. Gathering them in his fist, he galloped back downstairs and slapped them on the kitchen counter. “There. That’s for what I wasted,” he announced, not without a hint of smugness on his round little face. But Daddy did not look happy. In fact, as Daddy looked at the coins, he appeared to be rather sad. He looked sadder still when he turned to face his son. “Anders,” he said softly. “I don’t want your money. I only want your obedience.”

After Daddy left for work Mommy called Anders over to her side. “Anders,” She began. “A long time ago, in a country called Israel, there was a great King. His name was Saul, and he was one of the strongest, mightiest men in the land.” Anders’ ears perked up. “This King Saul, ” continued Momma, “was told by God to destroy some very wicked people. He was told to destroy everything — no animals or goods were allowed to be spared, much less any of the evil people! But Saul didn’t listen. Saul did what he wanted, not what God said. He kept some of the animals for himself and his army. When the prophet Samuel came to see what Saul had done, Saul told him that the animals were for sacrifices to God. But Samuel said to him, “Saul, God desires obedience, not sacrifice.” God didn’t want the animals! He wanted to see if Saul loved Him enough to obey.” Mommy looked very serious, and Anders averted his eyes. “Anders, Daddy doesn’t want your money! He only wants you to obey. Don’t waste the food he works so hard to feed you with.” Anders sniffled, and soon the lump in his throat could be resisted no longer. He sobbed into Mommy’s shoulder. “I won’t waste any more! I’ll obey!”

After that, little Anders obeyed his Daddy… at least, for a while…

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