The Joey Chronicles – Path to Freedom / “Little Things and Big Things”
When Pastor John was growing up he had an imaginary friend named Joey.
These are growing up stories told from Joey’s point of view!
Principle #5 - Little Sins Lead to Big Sins"
Joey always liked animals. And animals always seemed to like Joey too.
When he was four he went up to a German Shepherd and stuck his face in the dog’s mouth to see what it looked like in there. The dog didn’t mind, but Mom sure did.
Happy was Joey’s first dog – a cocker spaniel – and Joey grew up with a constant companion that followed him everywhere. “Happy” was the first word out of Joey’s mouth at his first birthday party when Happy first came to live with his family.
Joey loved to go to the zoo. He always dreamed of having his own chimpanzee and was always saving his money in order to buy one. He never seemed to have enough, but he always wanted his own monkey.
When Joey turned ten his friend Steve went on vacation with his parents and asked Joey to look after his pet turtle while he was gone.
Joey always liked animals. Except he wasn’t too fond of snakes, he was scared of spiders, he didn’t see why fish were good pets – and he didn’t think much of turtles.
“Joey, we are going to be gone a week and we are so glad you can take care of Harold. Now here is where we keep Harold and this is his food. You take this little shaker and sprinkle it on the water twice a day – not too much – and Harold will be happy.”
“Make sure you put the food in the water so Harold can swallow it. After you put the food in, turn out the light and leave because Harold likes to eat with no people around.”
Joey looked at the little turtle in the water and thought to himself, “That is sure a lot of work for that little green thing in a shell.”
But Joey said, “Okay, Mrs. Austin” and watched as they drove away, headed towards the Redwood Forest in Northern California.
Joey hoped that Steve brought him some of those cool postcards that showed a real car going through the center of one of those big trees.
So Joey began to feed Harold. Once in the morning. Once at night. And everything went well for the first two days – until he forgot.
Joey had been saving his money all summer to buy his own black Schwinn 5-speed bicycle and he finally was able to go to the Schwinn store, put his money on the counter, and walk out with his beautiful new bike. He rode it home and rode all the over the neighborhood for hours every morning and evening when it wasn’t too hot.
While Harold sat in his tank next door waiting for some more food.
Three days before Steve came back from the Redwoods, Joey had a dream about Harold and woke up with a start, remembering the turtle next door.
“Turtles don’t need a lot of food” Joey told himself and went back to sleep. By the time he got on his new bike the next morning he had forgotten all about Harold.
Two days before Steve came home, Joey finally went over and fed Harold. He figured since Harold hadn’t eaten he should get extra so he kept shaking the jar until the water was covered with tiny flakes of turtle food. Harold seemed happy and swam slowly to the surface to eat.
Joey got up the next morning and walked his bike next door to feed Harold. He turned on the garage light and looked in the aquarium, tapping on the glass like he usually did.
Harold lay at the bottom of the tank and didn’t move.
Joey tapped harder, but he knew that his friend’s turtle was not going to move again.
When the Austin’s pulled into the driveway the next day, Joey stood there with his Mom and waved slowly.
When Steve handed him some color postcards of the Redwoods Joey blurted out, “Steve, I’m so sorry! I forgot to feed Harold for a couple of days and then I fed him too much and then he wasn’t moving – I’m so sorry!”
Steve’s Dad bent down and gave Joey a hug. “Joey, this is Steve’s fourth turtle – the other three didn’t make it either. We forgive you.”
Steve nodded his head, wiped his eyes and said, “That’s okay Joey. Hey, did you get your new bike?!?”
Before Jesus was born Joseph his earthly Dad understood that little sins lead to big sins. When his fiancée Mary told him she was going to have a baby before they were married, he didn’t stomp out the door and leave her. He knew he couldn’t marry her but he wanted to protect her too. And when God told him Mary had not done anything wrong, Joseph believed God and followed every instruction he was given without missing a one.
Joseph did better than Joey did. If Joey had just remembered that little sins lead to big sins – not feeding Harold and then feeding him too much – maybe Harold…
That’s enough about Harold. Just remember that Joseph the earthly Daddy of Jesus was a good man, a righteous man. He did the little things right which made the big things come out right – like the little baby in the manger born on Christmas Day.
What are some of the little things that you forget that you need to remember?
What happens when you forget?
What happens when you remember?