Chapter 11: The Special Mission
In the meantime, Eli wasn’t just waiting around for Ezri after school.
God had given him a special mission himself. Eli was walking down the hall, looking over his shoulder for Zach, when he accidentally bumped into him. This time, though, Zach didn’t explode.
“Hey, Eli, what’s happening,” Zach said cheerfully.
“Hi, Zach, I was hoping to see you. Glad we bumped into each other. And I’m even more glad you’re not wanting to pound me for doing so,” laughed Eli.
“Yeah, I was thinking about it,” Zach said with a smile. “Anyway, I’m doing better after we talked the other day. I’ve been thinking about all the stuff you said—you know, about God and all.”
“Say,” began Eli, “what are you doing after school?”
“Nothing much,” said Zach. “Why?”
“Oh, just thought we’d talk some…and play. Besides, I’ve got two cupcakes in my backpack I’ll split with you.”
“Hey, now you’re talking,” Zach replied.
“Great! Race you outside,” said Eli with a smile.
Eli and Zach walked along a path outside, Zach kicking along a rock he found. After a few minutes of walking, the two found a street bench and sat down. Eli took off his backpack and pulled out the pack of cupcakes he had been saving.
As they sat munching, Eli said, “Zach, you’re a pretty cool guy. I’m glad we can be friends and not enemies. I know you’ve got some tough stuff going on at home. Do you have time for a short story?”
And in a few, swift sentences, Eli told Zach his story: where he was born, how he had been raised by a single parent who could invent just about anything, and about his Christian home. Then Eli took a quick breath and told Zach about how he had accepted Jesus as his personal Savior when he was seven. Eli’s story was like no one else’s because he was like no one else. Eli knew God had created him uniquely for a special purpose in life. Even though he looked and thought a lot like his twin sister, his story was of himself and, therefore, was his alone to tell.
Zach took in every word Eli said, for his story was nothing like Eli’s. Zach’s story was one of loneliness and neglect. His father had a drinking habit and often came home drunk during the evenings. The usual routine was that his dad would argue with his mother, often beat her up, and then slap around Zach and his brother if they were in the way. Zach had to be tough to survive. So he went around treating every kid in school just like he was treated at home.
What Eli had to say was foreign to Zach. A dad who treated his kid with love and respect—unheard of. One named Jesus, who loved Eli and who also loved Zach, even though Zach didn’t even know Him—even stranger.
The two boys finished up their snack, and Eli ended his story. Zach got quiet, thinking hard. Eli sat silently, hoping that Zach would say he wanted to come to know the Lord, but somehow knowing that the timing was not right.
Eli picked up the empty cupcake wrapper and opened his backpack to store it. When he opened the flap, he saw tucked away at the bottom of the bag his flying Z100 disk. The Z100 was another one of his dad’s inventions. While it looked like a regular Frisbee, the Z100 had a metal disk covering its top. One day, Eli’s dad had tried to explain to Eli how the Z100 worked: ‘The titanium disk inside the Z100 can regenerate the centrifugal force of the disk when in motion.’ When Eli asked his dad to explain it in simple English, Elijah laughed and said, ‘The disk can move itself forward, using the power you use when tossing it in the air. The harder you throw it, the farther the disk can go.’
“Hey, Zach, how about we go to the park and toss the Frisbee?” Eli asked.
“Yeah, that sounds cool!”
“Actually,” Eli continued, “it’s not a Frisbee, but it looks kind of like one. This is my Z100. You can throw it the length of a football field with barely any effort.”
“What?” exclaimed Zach, “How does that work? At my best shot, I can throw a Frisbee maybe 30 yards.”
“Not this one. I bet you can throw it clear across the park,” said Eli. “Want to try?”
“I’m game,” said Zach with a big smile. With that, Eli and Zach ran to the park.
“Okay, give it a toss,” Eli said to Zach. “But take it easy, okay?”
Before Eli had finished speaking, Zach flipped the Z100 into the air as hard as he could.
“No! Not that hard,” exclaimed Eli. But it was too late. The Z100 took off like a rocket. It glided along 100 feet, 200 feet, 300 feet. And then the thing just kept on going.
“Wow, dude, look at that,” exclaimed Zach.
The Z100 didn’t stop after 50 yards. Not even after 100 yards. It flew to the opposite end of the park where the park line ended and a forest began. And just like that, the Z100 disappeared in the trees.
“On no!” moaned Zach.
Zach looked at Eli, and Eli looked at Zach. Without a word, they began running across the park toward the trees. Minutes later they found themselves in the thick of the woods, huffing and puffing. Both stopped dead in their tracks, bent over, and placed their hands squarely on their knees to catch their breath.
“Now my dad’s going to kill me,” exclaimed Eli.
Zach looked up at Eli, his eyes wide. “Oh, man,” Zach exclaimed in a panic.
“No, that’s just a figure of speech,” Eli began. “Dad couldn’t hurt a fly. What I meant to say was that I’m dead meat—in the grinder. I mean, I’m busted. I mean, I’m … well I’m just in trouble.”
“Come on Eli, we can find it,” Zach said. “I think it went that way.”
Zach took off running again as Eli tried to follow. Deeper and deeper into the woods they went. All Zach could think about was finding the Frisbee so Eli wouldn’t get in trouble. All Eli could think about was trying to keep up with Mr. Speedy.
“Slow down, Zach. I can’t keep up!”
Zach quit running, but his step was fast and he glanced from left to right in search of the Z100. “I can’t find it anywhere!”
Both Zach and Eli got so caught up in the search, they didn’t pay attention to where they were going. Before they knew it, they were smack-dab in the middle of nowhere! Eli looked everywhere, and all he could see were trees.
“Zach,” said Eli, stopping suddenly. “Do you have any idea where we are?”
Zach looked around. “I think I know,” Zach responded. “Let’s head this away,” he pointed.
Together they tromped through the trees. The crunching sound of the dried, fall leaves added only to the sound of the birds chirping overhead. Zach zigged to the left, then zagged to the right as Eli followed. In fact, Zach walked aimlessly because he realized he had no idea where he was going.
“We’re lost!” said Zach in sudden desperation. “Now what are we going to do?”
“Don’t worry,” Eli began, “let’s just sit down for a moment and think this through.”
Eli wasn’t worried because he knew he had his T2U. The thing could view images of the earth from space. Eli thought for sure he could find his way out of this mess.
“Zach, wait here for a moment, okay?” Eli said as he stood up, then walked a few feet so Zach couldn’t see him.
Eli popped the lid off his T2U and pressed the satellite button, expecting an image of earth to appear on the screen. Nothing happened. Eli pushed it again, but still nothing happened.
“What’s wrong with this thing,” Eli muttered under his breath. “It worked fine the other day.”
Out of frustration, Eli jabbed hard at the button again. And yet again, nothing happened. No 3D image. No instant text message. No sound. No nothing. Just a blank screen.
“Come on, T2U,” Eli said in frustration. “What’s wrong with you?” No response. Not even a glimmer of light. Finally, Eli exclaimed, “Oh, I give up! Lord, what’s wrong here?”
At that moment, the T2U glowed, vibrated, and showed the words “Lean not on your own understanding.” Then all activity stopped.
“I don’t get it,” Eli said in disbelief. “What does that mean? ‘Leaning on my own understanding?’ This thing has always worked before.”
Eli thought for a moment, trying to figure it all out. Suddenly, the T2U began to glow again and a new message scrolled across the screen:
‘Proverbs 3:5-7:‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart and Marshall F. Bruner 90 lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD.’
“Okay, Lord, now I get it,” Eli said. “I thought I could easily get out of this mess by myself. I put my trust in the T2U and not in You. I’m sorry, Lord. I’ll trust in You from now on.”
Eli shut the lid of his T2U and walked back to where Zach was sitting. “Well, Zach, I have no clue how we’re going to get out of this jam. But I do trust Jesus will help us. He knows right where we’re at.” Eli sat down with Zach. The fall day seemed darker now that they were surrounded by woods. The afternoon turned cool, and the sun barely glistened through the thick wooded area where they sat. Yet Eli’s heart had been warmed because the Spirit of God had just made everything very clear to him.
“So, Eli, what do you say we get up and walk about?” asked Zach.
“I’ve got another idea,” said Eli. “How about I finish telling you my story?”
“Thought you did already,” said Zach.
“Well, I finished part of it. But I didn’t tell you about The Story.”
“The Story?” questioned Zach. “What’s that mean?”
“Glad you asked,” Eli said with a smile. “The Story is about Jesus Christ. Have you heard the Christmas story before?” At Zach’s affirmative nod, Eli continued, “Did you know that the reason God sent His only Son to earth as a baby was so He would grow to be a man who would die for your sins?”
Well, that grabbed Zach’s attention. Eli continued to explain how Jesus had died on the cross in order to offer all of us eternal life and to set us free from sin. Right there, in the middle of the woods, in the middle of their lostness, Eli led Zach to the Lord.
For the first time, Zach was truly found. He may have been lost in the woods, but he had been found by Jesus. After several minutes of prayer, Zach began to laugh. He couldn’t understand it, but for some reason, Zach felt peace.
Nearly two hours had passed since Eli and Zach had left school. Time seemed to fly by, though, as the boys moved from discussing their spiritual lives to their physical ones— mostly about the many gadgets around Eli’s house that his dad had created. Though Eli didn’t remove the cover from his T2U, he did show Zach how the unit could pick up AM and FM radio stations and even ham radio frequencies.
Just about that time, Eli thought he heard a familiar voice. “Hey, did you hear that?” Eli asked Zach. “That sounded like my dad.”
Again, but this time very clearly, the words rang out, “Eli, can you hear me?” Eli noticed then that the voice was coming from his T2U. “Eli, if you can hear me, push the right upper and left lower buttons on your watch simultaneously and speak into the T2U.”
“That is my dad!” exclaimed Eli. “What does ‘simeltanoseli’ mean?” Zach asked.
“That’s ‘simultaneously,’ which means doing something at the same time.” Eli pushed the buttons with his thumb and index finger and spoke into the watch. “Dad! I can hear you!”
“Son, I can hear you too,” said Elijah. “Here’s what I want you to do: push the same buttons two times quickly. This will activate the T2U so it sends out a distress signal. With Ezri’s T2U I can track down your exact location. Do you read me, Son?”
“I hear you, Dad! Here goes.” Eli pushed the buttons again, this time twice. Suddenly, the watch began to pulsate. After a few seconds the T2U let out a shrill “BEEEEEEP.”
“Eli, we’ve picked up your signal,” the words sounded from Eli’s T2U. “Ezri’s T2U has mapped out your location. Sit still, Son. We’re about ten minutes away.”
“Ten minutes,” exclaimed Zach. “I thought for sure we had walked about five miles.”
“Yeah, we might have,” said Eli. Then with a laugh he added, “Especially the way we zigzagged everywhere.”
- Have you ever been lost before? Being lost is no fun at all. There’s something worse than being in a strange place and being lost. It’s called being “spiritually lost.” Someone who has never accepted Jesus into his or her life is without Jesus and is spiritually lost. Here is a powerful Scripture you should memorize: Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” Do you think it’s important that you tell as many kids as possible about Jesus?
- In this story, Eli couldn’t get his T2U wristwatch working at first. He was trying to do things his own way and not the way God had in mind. Have you ever done that before—do something your own way instead of doing it the way God would want you to? Everyone does that from time to time. But God reminds us that if we will obey Him, He will place our life in order. Let me read some great Scripture verses that Jesus would love for you to discover:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
“Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8: 34)
“In all…things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:38)
- How do you think each of these verses applies to your life?
- Let’s pray together, that God will help you to fully realize what all you can do for Him. If you and the other kids at church determine to live out the five commitments below, you can tell the many spiritually lost kids at school how to find their way to safety, through Jesus Christ. The Five Commitments for Living Out Your Faith are:
- Seek the Holy Spirit’s lead in helping others.
- Show kindness and friendship to others.
- Share your story about how you came to Jesus and The Story about why Jesus came to earth.
- Invite others to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and invite others to church.
- Invest in the lives of others—by teaching them about God’s Word and showing them how to live out their faith in Jesus. Think of some kids at school you want to share Jesus with. Now let’s pray together for those kids, that God would provide you the perfect opportunity to tell them about Jesus. You can help by first showing kindness and friendship to other, by helping the needy, and by showing everyone the love of Jesus for them through your actions.