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Terry and the Snake

Terry was spoiled. Since he was a baby his parents let him to be entertained by a big box which showed moving pictures all the time. He had never learned the joy of working hard. It actually made him feel cold! It was silly of Terry’s parents to spoil him, for life is not mostly play with a little work mixed in. It is mostly hard work with a little play. So Terry had it backwards.

When he began school, Terry got a very unpleasant surprise. He, Terry Johnson, was actually expected to work! Terry went to a school where the teachers really lived for Jesus. And they believed in hard work. Every morning one of them would pray for all the lazy students, and would ask God to help them to have courage to work hard and learn their lessons. That always made Terry squirm.

Brain work wasn’t the only work expected of Terry. The teachers felt that some hard physical work was healthy for growing boys and girls. And so Terry was taken to the garage and shown a red and black grass-cutting machine with four wheels and had a big handle to push with. Before he realized it, the teacher had started the motor with a roar, and Terry was sweating—really sweating—in the heat of the sun, as he strained to shove the stubborn thing around on the lawn.

After five of minutes of this, Terry felt that he was about to die. He went into the school to get a drink of water, but a big teacher stood in his way. “Water after work!” the teacher said. Terry began his horrible experience again. Two minutes later, he was back inside.

“Sir,” he began, making a very sad and pitiful face. “I just remembered that I have a problem with working in the sun. I get real sick and throw up.” The teacher smiled slightly and replied, “That will be interesting to see. So get to it.”

After another five minutes, Terry noticed a brush pile next to the lawn. There were probably snakes living in it, Terry thought. They were probably poisonous. He looked around. The big teacher had gone inside. A little lady teacher was watching him. “Miss Richardson,” said Terry, “there are snakes in that pile of brush!”

“Terry,” Miss Richardson replied, “the only snake around here is the one in your ear!”

Terry clapped his hands on his ears. There were no snakes there.

“You can’t feel this snake,” the teacher said. “This snake is the one who talked to Eve in the Garden of Eden,” she explained. “He is the devil, and he wants you to be lazy.”

Big tears ran down Terry’s face as he thought of the horrible work he had to do. “I just can’t do this, Miss Richardson,” he said. “I JUST CAN’T!”

“That’s what the lazy man in the Bible said, too,” Miss Richardson replied. “He didn’t want to work, either, so he didn’t even get up in the morning. ‘The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.’* (Proverbs 22:13) Is an imaginary lion getting the best of you, Terry?”