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“Take the panel marked ‘F’ and slot it into grooves ‘K’, ‘P’ and ‘Y’, with blue side uppermost.”

Stefan stared at the blue panel and tried to imagine what it would it would look like. “I think I know what that means,” he said. “Right, next step.”

“Oh, kill me now!” cried his brother Pavel. “Can’t we just start building the things? I’ve been listening to you reading out those stupid instructions for days.” Pavel flipped the paper instructions out of his brother’s hands. A train rumbled past their house, shaking the windows as it went.

“No! You know what Dad said. We’ve got to make sure we know what we’re doing before we start.” Pavel groaned and put his head in his hands as Stefan picked up the instructions again. “Besides, we’ve only got one step left. Now, slide drawers ‘M’, ‘G’ and ‘B3’ into place. Congratulations! You now have a complete Agrajag Halfront chest of drawers!”

Stefan turned back to the first instruction and looked at all the pieces of wood, screws, wooden pegs and Allen keys that made up the two sets of drawers for his and Pavel’s bedrooms.

“So, we start with this piece here and then—”

“Oh, I’ve had enough of you and your 36-step plan. I’m just going to put everything together myself. It can’t be that hard.”

“You can’t do that!” shouted Stefan. His brother was seriously getting on his nerves.

“Watch me. You do your drawers and I’ll do mine. Then we’ll see who needs instructions…”

After an hour or so, the two sets of drawers stood side by side in Stefan’s bedroom. They looked the same, with the same blue panels, the same three drawers and the same shiny top. Stefan rolled his empty drawers back and forth and was pleased with his handiwork. Pavel did the same. The drawers came out, but he had to push them quite hard to get them back in again. “Just a teething problem. It’ll be OK once I’ve put some clothes in.”

Suddenly, the whole house shook as the 9:34 from Bristol Parkway careered past the window. It was so close, so fast and so loud that Stefan didn’t initially hear the crash. He looked around to see what had happened. His own chest of drawers was standing proud and perfect. His brother’s, on the other hand, was lying among a pile of screws, panels and wonky drawers.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • Are you more like Stefan or Pavel? Why?
  • How do you approach guidelines for more important things, such as being at school? • When you hear someone give you instructions, do you put them into action? Why? Why not?

This story is based on Matthew 7:24-27. Read the passage to the group and compare Jesus’ story to this one. Discuss what Jesus might have been saying through his story, encouraging the young people to think about the parable in a new way.