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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: The Perfect Present.
By Julie Ruspoli


As Beth walked to her car she realized her feet had swollen and her shoes were cutting into her skin. Her shopping was complete, after hours of walking through the mall, she had found the perfect gift for the new Pastors wife. When she saw the lavender lace dress, she knew it was the perfect choice. She had been saving extra tithe money for several weeks and the dress had to be what God had planned for her to use it for. She would have the best present for Miss Lindaís welcome party. Beth hoped the fancy dress would keep Miss Linda in the style of clothing she was probably used to wearing in the city. The hour drive home made her late to prepare dinner. Afterwards, she wrapped the present and went to bed early so she would be well rested for Sunday morning.

It was difficult to keep Pastorís at the little country church. The secluded location usually caused them to leave for Churches near the larger cities. Being secluded from the hustle and bustle of a city was always inviting, but eventually it became too much for folks to handle if not raised in a similar area. As the lead Elder of their church, Bethís husband, Doug, had been in contact with Pastor Albert for several weeks. He had been one of three Pastors of a large congregation in the city. Pastor Albert had assured Doug over and over again of their desire to escape the big city life.

Sunday morning was a beautiful sunny day, the perfect day to welcome a new Pastor and his wife. As the choir began the services, Beth noticed the dress worn by Miss Linda was still in good shape, but obviously a few yearsí old. Was she avoiding embarrassing the ladies of the congregation by not wearing her fancy city clothes?

Pastor Albertís first sermon was about the importance of our blessings from God and using those blessings wisely. After his sermon, Pastor Albert took a few minutes to explain why they had decided to come to the little country church. Although they were very close to numerous members of the church in the city, some members of the city church had continuously chastised them for their refusal to purchase expensive clothing and not give lavish parties. Pastor Albertís salary from the city church had included extra money for just those purposes but they had not used it for those things. Instead they only purchased clothing that was from the bargain racks at the local department store. Parties were always simple with home cooked food by Miss Linda served buffet style. Pastor Albertís extra wages were donated to the local charities for food and clothing. Although Pastor Albert had tried to change the beliefs of the city churchesí congregation, after five years they had not succeeded. After years of prayer they realized they were not helping the city congregation grow by staying. God showed them that at times, making a change meant separating from a situation to make a difference.

As the choir sang the closing hymn, Beth quietly left the sanctuary and took the lavender lace dress back to her car. She would return the fancy dress and donate the money to charity. Belonging to the little country church had never made her prouder as she was on this day. Buying the best of everything was not what God had planned for his blessings of money. Providing what is needed and helping others was Godsí perfect present all along.

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This article has been read 841 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Martha Ford03/10/07
Thank you for a sweet reminder of my roots in a country church. I could "see" your setting through me memories. Very tight story, not a word wasted. Keep writing for Him.
Clyde Blakely03/12/07
Wonderful. Well written, easy flow. Excellant message. I pray this story could be true more often.
God bless and keep writing.
Donna Powers 03/12/07
A good lesson and nicely written. I enjoyed this. Nice work
Catrina Bradley 03/15/07
Very nice! A few minor punctuation errors, but they don't distract from your story at all. Loved the message, an all-too important one. Keep up the good work!
Kathie Thomas03/15/07
Good story, well told.
Joanne Sher 03/15/07
A lovely story with a wonderful reminder for us all. Keep writing!
Julie Arduini03/15/07
Great description of Beth's shopping excursion. Her heart was in the right place but what a great message she was able to take home after church! Nicely done!