Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)
TITLE: THE COST
By Valerie Routhieaux
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He looked out over his vast estate from the shade of his front porch. It had been such a good year. He had just met with his chief overseer about building bigger barns for his crops. The fields were full of slaves whose backs glistened with sweat.
“Master, the man for Capernaum is here with his followers,” the slave said.
He turned and saw the men. His eyes fell on the leader, a man not richly garbed. Yet there was authority in his eyes, and manner. His hands were callused. His back was straight, and there was purpose in the way he looked at him. The men with him were likewise coarsely dressed, and showed signs of much hard labour. But it was the way the leader looked at him that made him feel like he had done something wrong, yet he knew that his accounting was good. After all he was a Pharisee. He had never lied, broken any of the commandments. He tithed a portion of everything to the temple every Sabbath. He was very prosperous. He had a large home, servants, and plenty of food for his table. He had ships that brought goods from afar, and yet with all his abundance the look in the man’s eyes made him feel like he missed something important. “What can I do for you?”
“I have come to sup with you, Simon.”
“You know my name, but I’m at a loss to know yours,” Simon said.
“There are many who do not know me, and after today you will know me better. My name is Jesus.”
Recognition entered Simon’s eyes. He had heard of Jesus of Nazareth. Who hadn’t? He drew large crowds wherever he went. Suddenly he felt superior to all those others who had to go wherever he was teaching. His manner changed. He stood just a little taller as he drew in his stature and a smile spread across his face. “I would be honoured to have you and your followers join me in a meal.” He turned to his servant. “Get the fatted calf ready at once, and go to my nearest neighbours and invite them for the meal. Let them know that I have the Carpenter here to dine.”
The wine flowed freely, and the food was plenteous as Simon entertained his neighbours and special guests.
“Bigger and better barns. I have more crops than last year, and my ships are bringing me more merchandize,” Simon said to the man on his right as they reclined at the table.
“And with your position in the Sanhedrin, you are well set for life,” the man said.
Jesus looked him square in the eyes. “What good is all your wealth if you aren’t around to enjoy it?”
Silence deadened the room as Simon focused on Jesus. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that you have amassed great wealth here on earth, but your treasury in heaven is empty. All your wealth and position will mean nothing when you die.”
Simon blustered at that. “But I am a young man, not above forty. Prosperous. I give money to the temple.”
“Before the sun warms the day your soul will be required of you.”
Everyone spoke at once as Simon’s good deeds were brought into focus.
Jesus expression was full of compassion and sorrow as he looked at Simon, and took his leave.
Simon watched Jesus and his followers leave his home, pale at what had been spoken to him. The conversation melted into a blur around him as he stood to his feet, and went out to the porch. Dust rose under the feet of Jesus and his followers as they went through the gates of his property.
He scanned his fields again, and looked at what all his labour had gotten him. The man didn’t know what he was talking about. He had many years to enjoy his prosperity.
Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Luke 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
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