21. Love is not jealous

1 Cor 13:4


Characters: Mother Bear, children Teddy and Topsy, smaller (dressed) Dolly Bear.

Props: money box with Monopoly notes.

I want to tell you the story of the three bears. There was Mother Bear and her two children Teddy and Topsy. (There was also a Father Bear, but he was away fishing, and doesn’t come into this story.) They lived in a nice little house set in a pretty garden and green lawns. At the rear, the property backed onto a big river which flowed out to the sea.

Each Sunday the Bear family went to church. Teddy didn’t always understand what was said. For example, this Sunday the preacher was reading from the Bible: ‘Love is not jealous.’       “I don’t even know what ‘jealous’ means,” thought Teddy to himself on the way home.

Perhaps you can help Teddy out? If I am ‘jealous’ of my friend, what does that mean? Yes, that’s right. It means that something good has happened to my friend, and instead of being glad about this, I am upset and wish it had happened to me. Did you get that, Teddy?

In fact, Teddy’s main interest was money. He planned to be a millionaire when he grew up. So Teddy did a lot of lawn mowing and car washing to earn money. And all the money he earned was placed in this money box which he kept on the mantle-piece.

Now Teddy’s sister was quite different. In fact it was rather sad, but Topsy was often unwell, and had to spend long periods in bed. (You notice how pale she is looking?) So her parents had given her the nicest bedroom in the house with a garden view. And when people came to visit the house, they would always call in to see Topsy and say, “Hope you are feeling better today Topsy. I have brought you this nice box of chocolates to help make you get well.” Topsy had a favourite little doll called Dolly Bear that she was very fond of. Dolly Bear spent most of her life in Topsy’s bed.

One night, Teddy was fast asleep and Topsy was fast asleep, and Mother Bear was wandering around the house dusting, and doing whatever it is that mothers do when they are awake at night. She came across Teddy’s money box, and opened it up. “Goodness me!” she exclaimed, counting out the money. “$35! What a lot of money Teddy has earned. I can’t leave it here – someone might steal it! I’ll have to hide it in a safe place! Now where can I put it?”

Now, shut your eyes – no peeping! – while Mother Bear hides Teddy’s money in a safe place! [Tuck the money up Dolly Bear’s jumper! It doesn’t really matter if the children look.]

The next morning, Teddy woke up in a foul mood. He had got out of the wrong side of the bed, which was a bit difficult as Teddy’s bed was up against the wall – but you get the general idea. He started thinking about his sister Topsy. “I don’t see why Topsy has to have the best bedroom in the house,” he thought. “Much better than this scungy room of mine.” (It wasn’t really a bad room, but Teddy couldn’t see that.) “And all these visitors asking, ‘How are you Topsy? Would you like some chocolates?’ Why does no-one ask how I am feeling? Or bring me chocolates? Why don’t I have any friends? I hate my sister! And I am going to teach her a lesson!”

And Teddy ran into Topsy’s room (Topsy was in the shower) and grabbed Dolly Bear, and running down the bottom of the garden, threw Dolly Bear into the river. Dolly Bear lay on her back facing the sky, did two or three experimental loops, and then floated off for an extended stay at the seaside, never to be seen again.

Teddy felt better after this. A little later in the day he decided to count his money. He took down his money box, opened it, and discovered that it was EMPTY! “Mummy!” he cried. “Someone has stolen all my money!” Mother Bear took Teddy in her arms. “It’s alright dear,” she said. “I took it out last night and put it in a very safe place. I tucked it inside Dolly Bear’s jumper. No-one would ever think of looking there!”

Teddy thought of Dolly Bear, last seen vanishing in the distance with all his money. “Oh Mummy,” he said, “I have been a very bad bear,” and he told Mother Bear about what he had done. “In future,” he said, “I will love my sister Topsy, and never be jealous of her again.” And you know what? He never was.