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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Leadership (03/14/05)

TITLE: "Come and Dine"
By Suzanne Shepard


Come and Dine!

The shiny silver blade of my ivory embossed letter opener effortlessly sliced the edges of the pressed linen envelope that arrived in my mailbox today. Inside was an invitation written in beautiful calligraphic handwriting. It was a request for my presence at the mansion up on Timberline Hill. It read:

“Dear Andrew,
Because of the sincerity of your Christian testimony and your desire to answer the call of God on your life, you have been chosen to attend the gathering of the greatest leaders of all time. We request your presence at a special dinner to be served at:
2770 Timberline Hill
Tomorrow evening – 7:00pm
Attire is casual – come as you are
Bring – a teachable heart.

Strange as it sounded, I felt deep inside that this could be the chance of a lifetime and I did not want to miss out on the thrill. To learn from the greatest leaders of all time…. What exactly did that mean?

Finally the time came and I arrived at Timberline Hill. It was a neighborhood of great prominence. Only the elite lived in this secluded community. The pillar fronted homes were eloquently landscaped with dark green conifers and sculptured vines. Softly colored flowers graced the cultured stone walkways. The awesome beauty of the place drew my breath away as I timidly approached the massive entrance way. I knocked twice and the door opened.

A most gracious man dressed in white bowed slightly to me and motioned for me to come in. “Welcome” was all I heard him say.

The room was filled with men and women of all ages. Amongst them I found a young lad full of joy. On his chest, he wore a tag called ‘brave friend’. There was an older gentleman with stark white hair and beard who spoke with a pronounced stutter, his tag read ‘Obedient’.
“What’s with the tags? I wondered to myself. Name tags would be understandable, but word tags? I don’t get it. My curiosity was peaked so I began to search out what the others were wearing. One older gentleman was wearing, ‘Faithful’. A tanned young woman wore ‘Courage’ pinned to her beautiful blue gown. The distinguished middle-aged man sitting to my left wore ‘Wisdom’, and still another younger fella with eyes that sparkled like the sun, proudly wore ‘Loyal’. Courage, Strength, Truth…..the list went on.
My search was interrupted when the gentleman in white quietly drew our attention his way as he encouraged us to follow him to the room where we would dine. He strolled directly to the head of the table, pulled the chair out and then called my name.

“Me? You want me at the head chair Sir?”
“Yes Andrew, you are the guest of honor tonight. Please be seated.”

This was all too weird, so I turned to him and asked, “What exactly is this? What is going on here tonight? I’m not sure I belong here. Please tell me who these people are and what is with the odd name tags?”

The man in white began, “I will tell you, Andrew. Look around and make a note of the names that you see. These names represent the characteristics of a godly leader. You do remember asking to be one, don’t you?”

“Yes Sir, I do. It was just two Sundays ago in worship service. I felt God calling me into the ministry. It was then that I asked the Lord to prepare me to do a work for Him. But what do all these folks have to do with that?”

“I’m glad you asked.” The stranger said matter-of-factly. “Each person here represents a godly character of old… someone that God had called to serve Him. Each one had to allow Him to shape them and mold them into a useful vessel. Each one had to learn how to give their strengths and weaknesses to God so that He could get all the glory. From there, we came to know them for their godly attributes such as, Faithful, Brave, Strong…..”
“Now my son, I want you to eat and enjoy the feast we have prepared for you. Then stay and learn from the leaders of old who have gone before you. Study them and show yourself a workman approved of God and ready for your Master’s use.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Deena Walls03/21/05
What a beautiful invitation to all believers to learn from the servants of old .Also your descriptive words in the first paragraph had me holding that letter opener.You definitley are not a begginer I will be curious on how this one does. Good Job !
donna robinson03/22/05
I think of the people who choose ministry and how God calls this to this dinner to soak up the qualities needed and to find the summary of one that will guide them too. Great analogies within this story.
Delores Baber03/24/05
An excellent work. It draws us to the Bible to learn from those who's lives were recorded for that exact purpose. You have a real writing gift.
Nancy Hardy03/28/05
Oh, what a wonderful story. That we all would come and dine on the attributes of leadership. A well-deserved win, congratulations!! - Nancy
Deborah Porter 03/29/05
Suzanne, I don't normally give away too much about the final ratings for entries in the Challenge, but I really wanted you to know that your entry was just a fraction away from making it into the Editor's Choice. You were next in line. Congratulations on your 2nd Place in the Level Champion awards, but that doesn't really give the full picture of how well your entry was received by all six judges. So I really do recommend that next quarter you take the big step to move up to the Intermediate Level. You are definitely ready. With love, Deb
Karen Treharne03/30/05
Well done Suzanne. A great message for all of us to allow God to use us for His purpose. It is an awesome privilege and responsibility to be a leader - none could do the job without God's stamp of approval and assistance. Congratulations! Yours in His name, Karen
Dixie Phillips04/08/05
Wow! What a creative idea! Loved the way you brought out the Christ-like character traits. Oh, may we be found faithful for our KING!