Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)
TITLE: Pressing On To The Upward Call
By Michael Metz
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The prisoner turned with disregard to the guards statement to continue speaking with his visitor, “Tell me Timothy,” the chains made their disruptive rattling sound as the prisoner rested his arms on the table, “how are the church members getting along?”
Timothy sheepishly replied, “Basically alright. I mean…when we meet our worship is well attended.” Timothy’s gaze slowly melted to the ground, “It seems some of the more affluent members of the community are starting to attend…”
“Well that’s good,” the chains tumbled to the table top as the prisoner sat up at the good report, “I’ve been trying to get some of them to come in for a long time now. What else?”
Timothy continued, “Well, I wouldn’t get too excited.” Timothy drew in a breath, “Most of them seem to be there…like they’re trying to gain something.” A perplexed look grew on the prisoners face; the chains gently scuffed the tabletop. Some have been there all of three months and are trying to leverage their way into church leader positions; walking around with their chest all puffed out.” Timothy’s gaze dropped to the table, “I fear it’s having a negative influence on the faithful.”
The prisoners brow grew rigid, his chains silent, “How do you mean?”
Timothy’s clasped hands grew a little tighter, “Meetings are not as well attended. When I seek to have conversation with the faithful they are always busy. There’s less discussion about the scriptures. It just seems clear they have a growing interest in making more money or gaining prestige then they have interest in the scriptures,” defeat weighed heavy on his shoulders as he leaned forward. “I’m not sure what we can do.”
As the room grew cold with discouragement, the Holy Spirit started burning a flame of urgency within the prisoner. The chains rumbled coming off the table as the prisoner stood and moved to his writing table. Timothy’s head shot up, “What is it?”
The prisoner sat down to write, “Finally my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me…although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless,” (Phil 3 1-6; NASB)
He continued writing, asking Timothy to request more parchment from the guard. “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:12-14; NASB) Paul continued writing into the night.
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