Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)
TITLE: All About Jessica
By Sally Hanan
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When she got home she was tired, but she summoned up enough energy to kick the dog out of the way and place the gaudy $200 worth of brand name diet boxes on the granite kitchen counter. Her mom had given her a shopping list of the necessary groceries, but Jessica knew Mom would understand. Jessica had to look good to get ahead.
There were 2 messages on her answering machine. She smiled in anticipation.
"Jessica, are you there? Your dad and I have been waiting here at The Olive Grove since 1pm. Are you OK? Did something happen?” CLICK. Her glitter polished nail hit the delete button.
“Hi there, this is Pastor Jeff. We put forward your proposal to lead a speaking group on Wednesday nights. Truth be told, we fear that you may not be committed to the group once it starts. We talked to your home group leader, who says that you still have difficulty serving the body and being faithful to your commitments. I’m afraid this is not something we can pursue with you right now.” CLICK.
Jessica felt the tears begin to fill up her sky blue eyes. No one understood. She already had herself down as the leader of this group on her resume, the one she had submitted to the Christian speakers service. She had assumed there would be no problem in starting up a group at her local church, after all, how difficult could it be to throw out a few bones to those women? A sigh escaped her lips. Difficulty serving the body?? The end justifies the means, but this is really going too far. Church ladies are such a drag. I always have to pretend I’m interested in what’s going on in their lives and smile as if I like them. I know God told me that my vision is to speak to millions, but He’s supposed to open up the waves of the river Jordan for me, and my Jordan is the river of people in my way. Why isn’t the church doing more to help me achieve my goals?
As she opened up her Bible she began to question why God had made her life so difficult. Jesus died for ME. Jesus loves ME. Jesus wants me to be HAPPY. Even the Scripture says that God works all things together for MY good. Why isn’t God working harder to do what I need Him to do? All I’m trying to do is follow the path He’s carved out for me.
The phone rang again, but Jessica raised one eyebrow, flicked her highlighted hair with the nail file that was in her hand and ignored it. Her nail filings were filling up her Bible page and she didn’t want to fall them on her new Abercrombie and Fitch skirt. The machine clicked into automatic mode.
“Jessica, this is Dad. We’re sorry you never made it to The Olive Grove. We had a big surprise planned for you. One of those TV Bible teachers we all think so highly of was in town for two days, and we had somehow managed to talk her into meeting you for lunch. She was so amazing Jessica! Such wisdom and humility and grace coming from one woman, it’s incredible what God has done in her life. We know how this has been your dream for so long and we always wanted the best for you, but…. Well, if you can hear me, she left about 30 minutes ago.
"She told us to tell you the secret of getting to where she got. It’s a scripture verse, James 3:13-17. I’m going to read it to you over the phone, and I don’t understand why this is the key to your passion for speaking but here we go. ‘Who is wise… .. “
Jessica’s forehead wrinkled and her waxed eyebrows furrowed together in her effort to understand what the hidden message to success was. In the end she gave up. God was going to use her uniqueness to farther the kingdom anyway. She didn’t need to use someone else’s advice to get there.
Who is wise and understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom's gentleness. But if you have ... selfish ambition in your heart, don't brag …. For where … selfish ambition exists, there is disorder and every kind of evil. But the wisdom from above is… full of mercy and good fruits, without … hypocrisy. (James 3:13-17, NLT)
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