Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
TITLE: A Gift to Sadie and Others
By Judy Doyle
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Sadie thought, “He’ll not be back.”
She was wrong. Dave returned a couple days later.
“Coffee, please.” He said, then sat down.
Pouring him a cup she replied, “Didn’t expect to see you again.”
He smiled and asked, “Why not?”
Eyeing him cautiously, she answered, “My diners are the type of people you don’t associate with.”
“Coffee’s good. Why shouldn’t I come here?” Dave inquired.
“Didn’t say you shouldn’t come. Said we aren’t the type you associate with.”
He smirked, “What type am I?”
“You know, what I mean.”
“I know. I like your coffee” He smiled.
“Where do you work?” Suddenly Sadie wanted to talk.
“Uptown.” He replied.
“I figured that. What do you do?” She was curious.
“I help people. Some say I sell fire insurance.” He answered slyly.
“Do you?” Sadie asked.
“Kinda” He grinned.
“Do you or don’t you?” Sadie wanted an answer. “What DO you do?”
“I’m a pastor.” Dave answered.
Sadie laughed. “You’re not!”
Dave assured her he was a pastor.
“Tryin’ to convert me?” Her friendliness had turned cautious. People often came to her restaurant to convert the customers. Instantly Sadie was suspicious.
“No, I’m here for coffee, and conversation.” He replied.
“You’re welcome here, but don’t bother my customers.” Sadie, who had been friendly, was distant.
“I won’t. I like your coffee. I’ll be back” He paid his tab and left.
Dave continued to return. Surprisingly, Sadie began to look forward to Dave’s visits.
One day Dave entered Sadie’s and asked, “Why are you closing? You’ve got customers.
Sadie sadly answered, “Got customers. Most can’t pay for their meal. I can’t watch them go hungry, I give it to them. I’m months behind on my bills.”
Dave looked intently at Sadie, glanced at the people who had become his friends. “Let me see what I can do, okay?”
“Sure, knock yourself out.” She shook her head.
“I’ll be back,” he said.
“Hope I’m here.” Sadie retorted. Dave returned to his office to work on his Sunday sermon.
Entering the pulpit, he looked intently at his congregation and began. “For several months, I’ve been going to Sadie’s Restaurant for coffee.” Parishioners were shocked. Dave continued. “Sadie’s is more than a restaurant. It’s a ministry. Some customers are homeless. Some can’t stretch their money, what with medicine, utilities and such. She still feeds them. We mustn’t allow Sadie’s to close. Jesus told a parable. He said, “I was hungry, you gave me something to eat. I was naked, you clothed me. I was in prison and you visited me. The followers asked, when did we see you hungry and feed you, naked and clothed you, or in prison and visited you? Jesus responded, When you did these things to the less fortunate, you did it to me.” Sadie’s feeding the hungry. She’s doing what we’re suppose to do. The prophet Micah said, “What does the Lord require of you? To seek justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.” Are we willing to do that? Are we willing to reach out and help our less fortunate neighbors? Please, give a little extra to help Sadie. It’s time we live our Christianity, not just talk about Christianity.”
It was a risky sermon. God had placed it on Dave’s heart. He prayed. They sang a hymn. Dave gave the benediction. Some parishioners placed money into Dave’s hand. Others were cool. In his office, he realized his congregation had generously responded to God. They’d given more than ten thousand dollars to keep Sadie’s Restaurant open.
Monday morning Dave entered Sadie’s Restaurant. As Sadie poured his coffee, he said, “Sadie, you have a ministry here.”
She blushed. “No, Rev. Dave. I’m not even a Christian.”
“In ways, you’re more of a Christian than many Christians. You’re doing the work God calls Christians to do.”
“I am?” She asked incredulously.
“Yes, Sadie. Our church wants you to continue the ministry you are doing. Here is a check to help pay your creditors.”
Tears streamed down Sadie’s cheeks. Excitedly she announced, “We’re still in business. Rev. Dave’s church has helped. Thank you, Dave. You’re a godsend.”
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