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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: Take your complaints to God
By mark lyon


“Look at all those trash bags! He just leaves them sitting there right in the middle of the kitchen area. How can we work around here? I can’t even move.”

Boy, those women were upset! I had walked right in the middle of a gaggle of geese who were complaining about every little crumb, dust speck, and counter top stain that they could find.

“Leaving those trash bags in the kitchen like that could be a fire hazard,” they moaned. “Why didn’t he go ahead and take the trash out to the dumpster?”

With all that “mess” around the kitchen area, you would have thought that they had walked into a catastrophe of immeasurable proportions that would take days if not hours to clean up.
But with in a few minutes, the counter tops were wiped down, the floor was swept clean, and the trash bags were put up against the wall.

As they began to prepare for the community luncheon, the ladies continued to gripe and complain about the clutter and untidiness that had presented itself when they first had entered into the kitchen area that morning.

“Doesn’t he know that we have this luncheon this morning? Are the tables cleaned out in the Fellowship Hall?” moaned one lady.

“Nobody knows his schedule. No one ever sees him. If he ever cleans this church, it is well after everyone else is gone,” complained another.

Now, I didn’t really blame them for their sharp, rude, and brusque behavior because this was an important luncheon and there was a lot to prepare. After all, the kitchen was operated and controlled by the ladies of the vitality committee. A loyal and devoted group of faithful women, who provided weekly meals for senior citizens, an occasional funeral dinner, and monthly Sunday brunches. This was their kitchen and they expected it to be kept clean, tidy, and neat.

Apparently, the youth group, the night before, had left the kitchen in a half clean state. They did an average job of cleaning up their mess, though there was still quite a few left over uncleaned pans, drinking glasses, and silverware.

Larry the janitor had made his usual rounds of bundling up trash and picking up condiments. It was later in the week when he usually did his full cleaning of the sanctuary area, the bathrooms, and the kitchen area.
But that didn’t matter to these ladies; it should have all been done last night!

Mavis snarled, “I remember when we had Steve. He did such a good job. He was here everyday and he was meticulous in his cleaning; cleaning all the cobwebs in the corner areas of the church, cleaning the dust off of the pictures, books, and upper shelves, and he cleaned all the windows regularly.”

“We need a new janitor. We need someone who will be here and keep this church clean,” as Linda
asserted to a shout of consensus by the other ladies.

I supported their concerns but I had to ask a few questions, “How are the bathrooms? Are the women’s restrooms clean and sanitary? Do they smell okay?” No response, just a soft glaze across their faces.

“What about the sanctuary, the classrooms, the hallways, are they clean each week? Are they presentable?"
Still no response from the ladies.

“Yes, Larry could make himself more available to the associates of the church, but he does do his job and he does clean the main areas of the church each week.”

“If you do decide to get rid of him, think how long it will take before you get a new janitor. From advertising the position, to scheduling interviews, to making background checks; that could take several weeks, perhaps a few months. Who would clean the church during the time you fire Larry and hire your new employee? That’s if you find someone.”

“Your right,” said Mavis. “Maybe we should not be so harsh in our judgment. Christ was fair in His judgment of others; maybe we need to be a little fairer in our assessment of Larry and his duties.”

“Overall, he does keep this church pretty clean,” echoed Linda as the other ladies stubbornly agreed.

“Let us be thankful for what we have and ask God to help us to work together for the benefit of God’s church. A clean church is important, but a church that supports and lifts up all its workers is a church that is doing the work of Christ.”

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This article has been read 445 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/21/08
I wish there wasn't so much complaining in churches...we need to declare a maratorium on it.

It's best to avoid exclamation points in the narrative of your piece...and "everyday" as all one word means "common, ordinary". You wanted "every day".

Good job on this week's proverb.
Jan Ackerson 02/21/08
Whoops, I meant "moratorium".
Yvonne Blake 02/21/08
Aren't we all too critical of others from time to time?
Good use of dialogue.
It was a little preachy near the end, but a good message.
Keep writing.
Nancy Quinn02/22/08
Great message and an all too common occurence in the church. Great writing - keep up the good work! God bless :)
Marlene Austin02/23/08
Nice job. Enjoyed reading your piece. :)
Joshua Janoski02/24/08
I really enjoyed this story. It was well written with a good mix of dialogue and descriptions to keep me interested.

I liked the message you were conveying, and it was right on topic. Thank you for sharing.