Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)
TITLE: Faithful Servant
By Catrina Bradley
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He was pegged as an outcast early in school. He was taller than the other boys his age, skeleton skinny, gawky and nerdy, and, worst of all in the eyes of his peers, Jim was religious. He was able to ignore the sneers and jeers, however, and overcome his unpopularity with his wit. He became known as the class clown, and that was fine with him. Along with the jokes he spread were seeds of faith, sown in unsuspecting, innocent, young hearts.
Jim knew it was because of Christ in him that people tended to listen with more than their ears. Over the years he lovingly watered those tiny seeds, watching sprouts of faith shoot up from the arid dust of his friends’ lives. It wasn’t always easy; most times it was downright difficult. Teenagers usually don’t like to hear about Jesus. As Jim looked back over the field of believers he had helped cultivate, he knew that the trials had been worth the effort.
When Pastor Carl told the congregation about the mission trip, Jim was among the first to stand and volunteer. Hope of planting Christ’s seeds in the untilled soil of African culture filled his heart and he committed without a thought to his meager bank account. Reality didn’t hit him until that evening. As he researched airfares on the Internet, his hope ebbed. The cost of a ticket to Africa, even on the discount websites, boggled him; the trip would require funds Jim didn’t have. Faithful to his promises to God to always trust and never worry, he turned his concerns into prayers and retired to his bed. He slept well that night, his dreams overflowing with vivid images of the Rwandan families he had seen projected on the big screen at church. The families in his dreams, however, knew Christ and worshipped God the Father. They were at peace in His love.
The sun peeped over the horizon the next morning, finding Jim half-asleep and just beginning to stir from his rest. Africa! Jolted awake by the thought, Jim’s heart began to pound in rhythm with his emotions. Elation, excitement, and exhilaration came first, but quick on their heels came a niggling anxiety over the cost. Again, he lay his worry down, cast fear aside, and let Jesus carry his burdens. With all doubt and fear expunged he arose from his bed, the grin on his lips but a dim reflection of the joy in his heart.
Jim took a look around his cramped kitchen. Bacon was sizzling, bread was toasting, and coffee was brewing. Satisfied with the progress of his breakfast, he strode down the sidewalk leading from his fading front door to his mailbox. His enthusiasm for life was evident in each step. If anyone had seen him that morning, they may have wondered what it was that gave such a poor man his zest for living.
On his way back to the door he paused to watch a butterfly flit about, enjoying this day that God had made. Jim nodded, smiled in agreement, and strolled on, flipping through the usual stack of flyers and bills. He was troubled when he saw an envelope bearing an attorney’s return address, and with forrowed brow he hastened inside to see what it might contain. Coming from a lawyer, it certainly couldn’t be good news.
Jim filled his favorite cracked mug with coffee and sat at the kitchen table to open the odd, unexpected letter. As he read, his eyes bulged with surprise and with awe. A distant, unknown relative had died and had divided his vast estate among his many kin. Surely the Lord had a hand in this¸ he thought, for lying before him was a check for the exact amount of a plane ticket to Africa.
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