"Dad, our Sunday school teacher told us a story in the Bible about a donkey that talked!" Shane said to his dad one Sunday afternoon.
"All of the stories in the Bible are true, Shane," Dad replied. "Donkeys don't usually talk, but this one did. God made it able to talk to get Balaam's attention."
"Yes," Dad replied. "Balaam, the prophet in the story, knew that God loved the children of Israel and that God was blessing them. When Balak, the Moabite king, sent to ask Balaam to curse the Israelites, Balaam agreed to go because Balak offered him a lot of wealth." Dad's hands spread out imaginary jewels and money on the table next to his chair.
"Balaam was so dazzled, thinking about money, jewels and land, that he couldn't think clearly. He didn't even see God's angel standing in the road to stop him, but the donkey did! It turned and ran into a field. Balaam was mad because he rode this donkey a lot, and it had never acted like that before. Balaam whacked the donkey a good one with his staff." Dad's arms thrashed down with an imaginary stick in his hands.
"Next, they were between two stone walls, and the donkey crushed Balaam's leg when he tried to avoid the angel. Balaam whacked the donkey again. The third time, it fell down in the road. Now Balaam was really mad. He whacked his donkey again and again.
"Then," Dad went on, "the donkey spoke. ‘Why are you whacking me with your staff? Haven't I been a faithful donkey to you all these years? Have I ever done this to you before?'
"Suddenly, Balaam realized that what the donkey had said was true. Then Balaam's eyes ‘were opened,' the Bible says, and he saw the angel himself. The angel told Balaam to say only what God told him to say."
"Yes," Dad replied, "it's a good story because it gives us good advice. Following instructions is a good thing to do."
"Yeah," Shane replied. "I remember when I didn't follow instructions and I got into big trouble."
"Yep! Remember when I was just a little kid and you kept telling me to put my bike in the garage?" Shane asked. "I kept meaning to do it, but I kept forgetting. One night you reminded me to put my bike away, and I ran out to get it, but it was gone! I thought at first that I didn't remember where I had put it, but after I looked everywhere I was sure someone had stolen it. I asked Sis to help me look, and Mom came too. We looked everywhere, but we couldn't find it."
"I remember now," Dad said. "I told you that I put it up in the garage. You didn't get to ride it for two weeks, did you?"
"Nope," Shane said. "That helped me learn to do exactly what you tell me to do."
"Well, not always," Shane answered, "but now I do what I'm told more often than I used to!"
"That's my man!" Dad said, ruffling up Shane's hair. "Learning to obey exactly and promptly comes one step at a time. Don't wait until you have to be reminded by a talking donkey!"