When Cricket Complained
Cricket was a lively little boy. His name was Jeremy, but he always liked to chirp like crickets do when they are happy. So Mother and Daddy called him Cricket.
This morning Cricket decided that he did not like green beans anymore. Now, he’d always liked green beans before. He helped plant them, pick them, and snap them. You would think that Cricket would like those green beans after all of that. And he did—until this morning.
He wasn’t sick. At least, he didn’t have a fever or a cold, but there was something bothering him. It bothers lots of children. Cricket didn’t know what it was. He just knew that things weren’t going just as he liked. So he stared at his plate gloomily.
“I don’t like green beans!” he said.
Mother looked at him. Daddy looked at him. Big Sister and Big Brother looked at him. And his little brother, Sam, sat in his high chair and stared at him.
Mother said, “Cricket, you’ve always liked green beans!”
Daddy reached over and speared a green bean with his fork. He ate it. “Boy, this is delicious,” he said.
Cricket scowled, and kept staring at the green beans. They looked like slimy, green slugs. He knew his green beans were horrible, no matter how many Daddy ate. Besides, he wanted to go play in the sandbox now, and he knew they wouldn’t let him during breakfast. They would try to make him help with the dishes and make his bed.
Just then Sam, who was learning to drink out of a cup, accidentally sloshed water out of his cup and it splashed just a little bit on Jeremy’s shirt.
Cricket let out a howl that sounded like a whole war party of Apache Indians! He dumped his full glass of water on Sam’s head. Then Sam yelled and kicked Cricket. Then came spankings and a Bible story about how the Israelites complained about the manna that God gave them to eat.
I wish I could say that Cricket learned not to complain and rebel after this, but he didn’t. Instead, he began whining about everything. He didn’t think his parents were fair to him, and nobody treated him just right. He stopped making cheerful, chirping noises, and no one called him Cricket anymore. His family did nice things for him, but Jeremy was so unthankful that they soon tried to stay out of his way. And he found fault with that, too. “Everybody is out to get me,” he thought. “Nobody likes me.” Actually, some people tried to be friends with him, but it was too hard.
When he grew up, he didn’t stop complaining. He thought his wife didn’t appreciate him, and his children complained about their green beans and didn’t realize how hard he worked for them. His boss was unfair, and he had mean neighbors. “I have the worst luck. Everyone’s against me,” he said.
Jeremy, the grownup, thought about dying and what came after that. He figured that God wouldn’t be fair to him, either, and wouldn’t let him go to heaven—if there was a heaven, he thought.
Poor Jeremy! There, in the other place that is not heaven, he would meet the one who had bothered him all his life: Jeremy’s real enemy, who had made him feel discontented and unthankful. “I’ve waited for you a long time, Jeremy!” the devil would roar. “Come and join the other complainers!”
“Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” (1 Corinthians 10:10)