A Matter of Obedience

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#58: “A Matter of Obedience”
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John 14:15
15"If you love me, you will obey what I command.

1 John 5:3
3This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
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Chris Anthony
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Paul McCusker
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The Prodigal, Jimmy
A Matter of Obedience
“A Matter of Obedience” is episode #58 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on January 21, 1989.


Tom Riley tells a story about when he was young. In it, he and his sister are assigned to take some medicine to a woman across a woods.



Tom Riley is filling in for a sick Sunday school teacher. He's trying to teach on obedience, but the class can only tell him the original Greek meanings of the word. So Tom decides to illustrate the principle through storytelling.

Tom begins by describing his boyhood. He grew up during the Great Depression, and his father, Tom Riley Sr., was a country doctor. In Tom's story, his father is just about to deliver some much-needed medicine to Mrs. Sawyer when he gets a phone call from Frank Roth. Frank's wife has just gone into labor. Tom Sr. needs to deliver the child, so he sends Tom Jr. and his sister, Becky, to deliver the medicine.

Mrs. Sawyer lives on the other side of Gloomy Woods, and Tom Sr. gives his children several strict instructions to follow: Pack a knapsack of food to take along with you. Take Single Path all the way through the forest, even though there are other paths that might seem shorter. If you meet a stranger, be polite but keep moving. No playing around or having imaginary adventures. Finally, when you get to the end of the woods, stay on Single Path until you come to a house with a blue door. That's your destination.

Tom Sr. makes the kids repeat the instructions, then leaves. Tom Jr. and Becky begin their journey. Almost immediately, they forget their father's instructions. Young Tom pretends he's an acrobat and loses the knapsack of food in a stream. Tom and Becky meet a man who wants them to join him. Tom almost goes, but Becky stops him. On the other side of the woods, they knock on a red door instead of a blue one and end up trapped in the house's basement by its elderly occupant. Thanks to quick thinking and skillful maneuvering, Tom and Becky finally free themselves and are able to carry out their father's instructions. Tom concludes by saying he learned a valuable lesson about obedience that day...and he hopes the Sunday school class has, too.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think Tom and Becky so quickly disregarded their father’s instructions?
  2. Why does God ask us to be obedient?
  3. Can you explain and define “obedience”?
    • What does it mean to you?


Role Voice Actor
Agatha Joan Gerber
Mr. Kennedy Hal Smith
Rebecca Riley Carrie Reisser
Reynold Joseph Cammaroto
Tom Riley Walker Edmiston
Tom Riley Chad Reisser
Tom Riley Sr. Walker Edmiston


  • The young actors who played brother and sister Tom and Rebecca Riley are also brother and sister in real life.
  • VERSION DIFFERENCE: The broadcast version of this episode has Chris talking about obedience when suddenly the theme interrupts her. She stops it, but then the theme plays very fast.
  • This is one of the few episodes where Hal Smith had a part, but Whit wasn't in it. In this one he plays the stranger on the path and Mr. Kennedy.
  • This episode contains some references to "Tom Sawyer" through the use of names like Tom, Becky, and Sawyer.
  • Though it is never expressly stated, we meet Rebecca's granddaughter Jami Martin in #39: “The Case of the Secret Room, Part 1”.



Tom Riley: I'm not young, I'm 11 years old.

Rebecca Riley: Tom, if you fall in and drown, I'll never speak to you again!