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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)

TITLE: I'll Trade You
By Amy Kuncaitis


“I’ll trade you my red marble for your green marble and…let’s see…the blue one too.” Martin tried to hide the anticipation he felt, as his heart felt like it was going to beat out of his chest.

“You got a deal.” The boy on the playground stretched out his hand to gladly shake on the deal.

Martin sealed the deal with a handshake, and both boys swiftly swept up their marbles before anyone could change their minds. He then scurried away to examine his newly acquired treasures. Martin felt that familiar manic excitement he always felt when making a trade that resulted in his favor.

As Martin grew into a young man, his pursuit of profit and gain became an obsession. Seldom could Martin think of anything besides what he was going to trade, and how he could make a bigger profit. If a trade ended with loss, Martin was driven all the more to make up for it in the next trade. If the trade ended in gain, Martin was driven to make the future trades even greater and more profitable. It was an endless cycle that sent him on a roller coaster of mania followed by depression. Martin could not be satisfied.

Martin’s life was passing him by while he sat on the sidelines focused only on obtaining more wealth and possessions. By the time he was fifty, Martin had two failed marriages along with three astringed children, who simply would not be part of the endless cycles of their father’s obsessive pursuit for money. Every relationship in Martin’s life had been put on the back burner by his intense compulsion to gain more riches and monetary goods.

In his heart of hearts, Martin realized that his passion for trading was out of line. Deep down, he knew why he had two marriages fail, three children with whom he had no relationship and not a friend in the world. Nevertheless, by this time, he knew nothing else. The pursuit of money and profit had become a slippery slope that he could no longer climb out of, so he continued to slide down this slope until, he hit the bottom.

“I am sorry Martin; I wish this was better news.” The doctor looked up from the paperwork that contained Martin’s test results. “It is cancer. It has spread. I can not sugar coat this, you have a matter of months Martin.”

As Martin drove home, the reality of what he had just heard the doctor say began to set in. In the hot tears of resentment, anger, and pain streaming down Martin’s checks, he recalled how many years he had wasted pursuing worldly possessions all the while, neglecting every person in his life. His heart felt empty. His life was empty. This pursuit he had been on all these years had given him nothing, instead it had taken away everything that really mattered. This was the changing moment in Martin’s life. Right there in his car, Martin vowed to not spend one more day pursuing things rather, he would spend every day he had left pursuing each relationship he had let fall to the wayside. He would work hard to rebuild and restore the ‘things’ in life that were the most valuable all along, and he would never again trade them for anything in the world.

That is exactly what he did.

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This article has been read 393 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Yvonne Blake 01/21/08
Very sobering!
You portrayed the topic very well. A little dialogue might help it become more alive.Also, it would have been stronger to leave off the last line.
Good job...Keep writing.
LauraLee Shaw01/22/08
I like the way you put Martin's background in. It helped me to understand him better as an adult. I felt sad that he didn't learn his lesson before the cancer.
Debbie Wistrom01/22/08
Great job, you have much to say here and it came out clearly. Keep up the good words.
Beckie Stewart01/22/08
You did this well, but how sad to realize when you have so little time left in your life. You would hope the family would forgive, but that does not always happen after such a tragic way of living your life. Good writing. Keep it up.
Jan Ackerson 01/22/08
I love the peek into Martin's childhood, and how it foreshadowed the man he would become.

A note: I think you meant "estranged" children. And perhaps end a few sentences earlier, with his vow never to puruse material things again. Your readers will supply the rest.

I like your title, and your "take" on the topic.
Karen Wilber01/22/08
I really like the way you told a story about Martin to kick off his lifelong obsession.
Joy Faire Stewart01/23/08
Very good job of conveying this week's topic. I can see this being used as a devotional.
Holly Westefeld01/23/08
This life sped by so quickly, but was right on topic.
Just my opinion, but I think it might have been more engaging if his history was shared as flashbacks/memories, perhaps even in first person.
Beth LaBuff 01/23/08
I really liked the marble story as background on Martin, and your title in light of that story and the trade-offs Martin made in his life. You've written this really well.