“Follow me!” Billy yelled to the others.
They raced to where he was standing at the top of the hill. “Let’s go down to the swimming hole! Last one in’s a rotten egg!”
Laughing loudly, the young boys ran fast as they could. Each one was racing to outrun the other. No one wanted to be the rotten egg. Billy always had the neatest ideas.
One hot summer day, they found a huge turtle sunning on a rock in the pond. It was big as one of their Mama’s serving platters. Before the poor turtle knew what had happened, the boys dragged it to the bank and turned it on its back. Picking up small branches that had fallen to the ground, they began to poke at the turtle. Billy egged them on “Let’s see if we can get him to stick his head out.” He poked and prodded, but the turtle dug into its shell and protected itself from the boys relentless attack.
Frustrated, the boys stopped hitting the turtle and sat down on the sandy bank. “What can we do now? We’re bored... and this turtle is no fun at all.”
“Wait,” Billy said, digging at the ground with his sticky dirt covered hands. “Let’s see if we can crack his shell open. Find some rocks to throw at him.” He began chunking rocks at the turtle. Hesitantly, the boys began picking up rocks and throwing them at the turtle. They didn’t want Billy to think they were sissies. Soon the turtle’s shell showed some signs of damage. They could tell it was in great distress. However, the shell did not crack and they soon grew tired of their attempted turtle homicide.
“Let’s go to the barn and play in the hayloft!” Billy cried. They all chased after him! Climbing up into the loft, they rolled in the sweet smelling hay. “You know we shouldn’t be in the loft. Uncle Joe told us not to play in the barn,” Josh reminded them. “Aww.. Stop being a wimp,” Billy replied. “I know! Let’s swing down with the rope and see who can swing the farthest.” Billy grabbed the rope and jumped from the loft swinging out over the barn floor. Landing hard on the dirt floor, he screamed and grabbed his foot. Frightened, the boys all scrambled out of the loft to find out what he was yelling about. “I’ve landed on the pitchfork!” Billy cried in pain. Sure enough! His foot was bleeding and looked really bad. Anxiously, the the boys carried Billy to the farm house where his mother quickly bandaged him up and rushed him to the doctor.
Left at the house, the boys looked at each other sheepishly. Following Billy’s lead all day had turned out to be a bad idea. He was hurt, and they were wondering how bad their punishment was going to be once Uncle Joe got wind of their escapades.
Josh, the oldest, said, “Maybe we ought to go clean up the barn. Uncle Joe won’t be so mad if we do something good for him.”
“Yeah,” another boy chimed in, “and we need to go turn that turtle over and put him back in the pond. He won’t be happy if he finds him left laying on his back.”
Righting their wrongs, the boys felt a bit better about themselves. “You know? Next time Billy has a bright idea, I think I’m gonna tell him I have something better to do,” Josh told the boys.
“Me too!” sighed the others in unison. “Hey Josh! What do you want to do now?”
“Yeah, Josh! What should we do now? You got any ideas?”
God calls His people to be leaders. Some are natural leaders. Others are thrust into leadership positions. There are bold leaders and reluctant leaders. Responsibility comes with the title. Our small friend Billy led foolishly and brought harm to himself and others. Think about it. When your turn comes, how will you lead? Where will those that follow you find themselves?
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