Do, For a Change

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#339: “Do, For a Change”
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Luke 18:9-19:14

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:

10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." 15People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." 18A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 19"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone. 20You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'" 21"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said. 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?" 27Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." 28Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!" 29"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life." 31Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. 33On the third day he will rise again." 34The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. 35As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." 38He called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 39Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 40Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41"What do you want me to do for you?" "Lord, I want to see," he replied. 42Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you." 43Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

Chapter 19

1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner.'" 8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." 9Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." 11While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12He said: "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.'

14"But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.'

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“Do, For a Change” is episode #339 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Marshal Younger, and originally aired on December 2, 1995.


Zachary Sellars and Eugene face their first difficulties as new Christians.


Although they are both new Christians, Zachary Sellers and his mother Eileen continue to fight and argue like they always have. Both are frustrated, expecting that their lives should be different now.

The next day Zach quickly makes an enemy out of Erica Clark by angrily criticizing her handling of the trains in the Train Room at Whit's End, causing her to storm off. Jack Allen overhears the commotion and learns from Zach about the his frustration over not becoming a better person now that he's a Christian. Jack encourages Zach that the Christian life is a process and requires prayer. Meanwhile, Connie is disappointed to learn from Eugene that he did not appreciate the book for new Christians that she loaned him, or at least not as much as she did when Whit gave it to her after her conversion. Eugene explains that he was "well-versed" in Christianity prior to his conversion and prefers material that is (in Connie's words) "on his level." Eugene does, however, accept Connie's invitation to attend the Bible study she and Jack are preparing for him, Zach and Eileen.

The following day, Erica, who works as a librarian aide at their school library, tries to get revenge on Zach for his behavior toward her the previous day by chatting excessively with a teacher standing in line in front of Zach and forcing Zach to wait longer than necessary. In response Zach erupts into another angry outburst. Erica wryly notes the irony of Zach checking out books on Christianity, prompting Zach to apologize (which Erica accepts). Zach relates the story during the Bible study that evening and is encouraged to take note of the positive changes already seen in his life. Eugene, on the other hand, seems to have just the opposite problem: he is so academic in his approach to Jesus that he doesn’t experience any trials, tribulations, or conflicts in his life at all. He even seems to show off his spiritual discipline a bit, declining Connie's dessert for fasting reasons.

Things only worsen for Zach the next day as he is befriended, and constantly pestered, by an annoying kid named Glenn Adams (whom Zach aptly describes as being "chock full of useless information") during a class field trip to a local science museum. Zach tries to be patient but finally ends up yelling at Glenn and pushing him into a volcano display. When Eileen comes to pick up Zach, Zach confesses to her that he no longer thinks he can be a Christian.

At Whit's End later, Jack observes Eugene giving Erica a brief lesson on the difference between wisdom and knowledge, in the process dismissing the study exercise that Jack had assigned her. Zach enters the store to return a Bible that Jack had gave him, claiming to have given up on being a Christian. Jack explains that Zach is trying too hard to be perfect; he needs to stop relying on himself and start relying on God’s grace, as well as accepting help from others. Zach admits that he wants to try again and leaves — with the Bible. Jack then turns to Eugene, who claims not to be able to relate to Zach's struggles, and explains that as impressive as Eugene's knowledge is, it's meaningless if it doesn’t enter a humble heart.

At their next Bible study, Zach recounts his recent successful efforts to practice patience, which include eating an entire plate of peas with a knife and asking Glenn to be his partner in an upcoming science fair. Zach confidently announces that he's ready for a "real" test — a test which comes sooner than expected as the supposedly-humbled Eugene proceeds to recount his personal testimony... as it relates to the hermeneutical study of the resurrection narratives. "I take it all back," gulps Zach. "I don't think I'm ready for this!"

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Mrs. Sellers think that she and Zach should behave differently now that they’re Christians?
    • Was she right?
      • Why or why not?
  2. Zach said he didn’t think he could be a Christian anymore. Do you think it’s possible for someone to stop being a Christian? Explain your answer.
  3. Why did Jack feel that Eugene needed to learn more about grace and humility?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Connie Kendall Katie Leigh
Eileen Sellars Vaughn Taylor
Erica Clark Erin Love
Eugene Meltsner Will Ryan
Glenn Adams Ryan Devin
Jack Allen Alan Young
Mr. Lucas Phil Lollar
Science museum tour guide Maureen Davis
Teacher on the bus Unknown
Zachary Sellars Chris Castile

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
John Whittaker Connie Kendall


See main article: List of The Chronicles of Narnia references


Jack Allen: Would you like to lead us in prayer, Eugene?
Eugene Meltsner: Delighted. Dearest Elohim: We know that you were with the army of Jehoshaphat in 2nd Chronicles 20: 1 and following, and when he prepared his army to battle the Ammonites, which were of a great multitude, you told them not to fear; and though the Hebrew is slightly ambiguous in a few of the verses in this passage, we know you tell us the same. And we remember this today when we battle the Ammonites of anxiety, the Jebusites of injustice, the Perizzites of pride and yea, the Syrians of sinfulness. Glorious Yahweh, we see in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians how he uses eschatological references as the basis for hope that determines the nature of daily life, and in a sense, we should do the same. And we ask these things in the name of our precious Redeemer and Savior, Jesu Christe, Emmanu-el, i.e. “God with us.” Amen.
Jack Allen: O-kayyyy... I guess that qualifies as a blessing.

Glenn Adams: Of course, there's no reason to be afraid of the earth blowing up!

Erica Clark: Before you go, would you like to try our little paperclip contest?
Mr. Lucas: Uh, your what?
Erica Clark: If you guess how many paperclips are in this jar, you can win a pizza party for your class.
Mr. Lucas: My class doesn't need any pizza.

Eugene Meltsner: I'm attempting to curb the temptation to take what I have for granted — and at the same time, to understand the plight of the underprivileged. Not everyone in the world has 3 meals a day as do you and I. Alas, most of the world eats just a few times a week!
Connie Kendall: Okay, well, who wants cheesecake?