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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Rich (04/26/12)

TITLE: What most people did not see.
By Osmer Harris
04/30/12


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I spent most of my life working outdoors; I loved it.

Much like riding a motorcycle there was a sense of freedom and I was good at my job, but things are very different now. When I was working, making a decent wage, I had been able to buy a nice home and a couple of nice cars. I seriously doubt I could raise a family on that same amount of money anymore. What most people did not see was the pain associated with all that. It seemed that within days of making it to that pinnacle, my marriage fell apart, and then I fell apart.

It seemed like I might have been rich to the outsider, but inside I was broke.

In the mid seventies I got involved in the Faith movement, and met my first wife because of it. The theme within the Faith movement seemed to be, God wants you rich, and that sounded like a good idea, but I donít agree with so much of it any more. I walked away asking, where does getting rich play into this faith and God scenario?

Initially there is the appeal for your family to be better off, but isnít that an outcropping of hard work?

Abraham was one of those people that we focused on, for God seemed to imply that he would make not only Abraham rich, but his seed after him. While we do not see that God directly made Abraham monetarily wealthy, what we do see is that God promised Abrahamís descendants land if they obeyed him. Land is certainly associated with wealth, so there is a logical path.

You do not see God promising anyone riches, that came out of Godís merciful side, while Abram did anything but apply faith. (Read Genesis chapter 12) Out of fear he tells the Egyptian king that Sarai is his sister. God intervenes and the embarrassed king gives him gifts and gets rid of him.

I suppose the narrow focus of Godís promise would point toward Israel and not me, but then we who believe in Christ have been made spiritual heirs (Galatians 3:29). As an heir I am certainly included in Godís promise but nothing has fallen into my lap, and land is getting rare anymore.

There is this other aspect, money and the lack there of. We Americans cannot seem to disassociate riches from how large your bank account is, and I do not have anything there to speak of.

Yes, I realize that I am wealthier than most everyone in just about any third world nation, but that knowledge does not satisfy me.

So clearly I am searching for something more than just being rich.

My Pastor spent many years as a missionary to Kenya, so he often uses what he saw there as an illustration. One of the stories burned into my thinking is a women he described. Of her family she was the only survivor and had to provide for herself. Every day she gets up and walks a great distance so that she can gather enough sticks allowing her to barter for some small quantity of food, and still have enough sticks to make a fire. She eats her one meal and returns to sitting upon a grass mat outside her stick hut.

When asked if she had disappointments, and wished she had more, she would only smile and say, ďmy God is enough.Ē

So when I get down because I donít have all the toys rich kids play with, I think of the woman on the mat, and remind myself, that even if I donít have riches, my God is enough.

Give me the desire to follow your rules, not the desire to get rich.
(Psalms 119:36 ERV)


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CD Swanson 05/03/12
Wow! That strong and beautiful lady from Kenya is a powerful reminder for us all. That image is now burned into my mind, and I oft times am in awe of the spectacular men, women and children in Africa. God's treasures.

Thank you for this story that resonates a gripping splash of reality for the readers.

GOD Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/04/12
This is a nice essay. The singoe line at the beginning intrigued me and drew me into what was next.

You may want to work on transitioning to help the piece read smoothly. Showing not telling is one way to do just that. For example, instead of comparing your job to riding a motorcycle (not everyone will be able to relate to that) try showing us what working outside was like something like this--
As a young man, working outside provided a sense of freedom, the wind in my hair and the feel of dirt on my fingers uplifted me. What joy filled my heart until my decisions changed my life. That's probably a tad cheesy but I hope it helps show what I mean.

I was fascinated by the Faith movement and wanted to learn more about it. I thought it was quite clever to show a personal example first then compare to a lesson from the Bible. It helps people understand what points you are4 trying to make. You did a nice job of writing on topic and bringing the story full circle.