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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: The Least of These
By Jennifer Klein
06/12/07


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I slid my tray off the cafeteria counter and turned to face the noisy room. The other kids swarmed in groups around faded lunchtables.

Ok Jenna, you have thirty seconds to find somewhere to sit before you look stupid.

I scanned the room for a familiar face. Yeah, right, as if there could be a familiar face on your first day. Kids were filing past me with their trays. I felt their eyes giving me the once-over, everyone one of them snickering to themselves about the lame-o new girl looking for a table. I was starting to panic.

God, I wish You had a body so I could sit with You.

Then, the girl I sat behind in math, Katie, spotted me and waved me over to her table. I felt myself exhale. That was a narrow escape.

I wove through the tangled mass of kids toward my own little island of social security. My new shoes were rubbing my heel raw but I tried to walk normally. As I got closer I realized that these girls were pretty. Really pretty.

How did I manage an invite to their group?

I took a quick glance at my clothes and cooly threw my hair back over one shoulder, almost dropping my tray. Fortunately, they were so engaged in their own dramatic conversation that they didn't notice.

I set my tray down. Katie looked up and smiled at me.

"Guys, this is Jenna. She's new here."

"Hi, Jenna," smiled half a dozen perfect faces.

"Cute shoes," said Katie as I sat.

Acceptance!

"Thanks." I replied with my best cheerleader smile.

The girls continued with their conversation and I tried to look interested. They were talking about who would be most likely to get Homecoming Court that year, but I didn't know any of the names they were talking about.

Suddenly, there was a familiar tugging at my heart. It was His tug, the feeling I had when He wanted my attention.

Yes, Lord?

I looked up from my food. And then I saw her. She was hunched over her tray, eating alone two tables over. Her hair was kind of messy, and I'm pretty sure her clothes were several years old because they were worn and a couple of sizes too small. I felt the tugging again.

No, Lord. Please! Don't make me sit with her.

The tug continued. It seemed like everything in me was fighting it. But I just made new friends...I wouldn't want to offend them.

If God had a face, I knew He would be making the one my mom makes when she's thinking, "Nice try."

I felt Him speak to me, "Didn't you say that you wanted to sit with Me at lunch?" And I remembered. "Whatsoever you do unto the least of these children of mine, you do unto Me. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was naked and you gave me clothes…"

...I was sitting alone at lunch and you kept me company
...

I couldn't say no now. And more than that, when I looked at her, I really felt sad for her. If I didn't get up and move, I thought the Spirit might burst out of my chest and go Himself.

I stood up with my tray. The girls stopped talking and looked up at me in surprise.

"Where are you going, Jenna?" asked Katie.

"That girl over there is sitting alone. I'm going to go keep her company." I said, looking in her direction.

"Her?" one of the girls asked. She said the word as if I had told them I was going to sit with a cockroach in the corner. But it didn't bother me.

"Yeah." I replied. "Thanks for letting me sit with you though. See you around."

I walked over and set my tray down for the second time that lunch period. The girl looked up suddenly and stared at me in disbelief.

"Is anyone sitting here?" I asked.

Her look of shock faded quickly to relief. I sat down and reached out my hand.

"I'm Jenna."

"Caroline," she said, looking down. She paused. "Thanks for sitting with me. It's my first day and..."

"It's mine too," I said. She looked up. We both smiled.

Caroline and I chatted and laughed the rest of the lunch period, and walked together to our next class. I smiled to myself. I knew I would always have Someone to sit with.


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This article has been read 529 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kristen Hester06/14/07
Perfect-o! Great message and great story. Perfect for the teen. Wow, how I remember feeling like Jenna did as she looked for a place to sit. Would I have gotten up? I am convicted.
Jeannie Brooks06/15/07
This scene is ageless and full of lessons for all of us...but I love the way you showed Jenna's relationship with the Lord, and her desire to listen and respond to Him when every part of her flesh shouted defiance. This reads easily for teens and is a lesson they need to hear. I look forward to reading more of your works.
Cathy Kane06/15/07
Good story and very well written. Jenna would be a good friend for Casey in Maybe, This Day..., which is a story entry on this level. Nice work!
Joanne Sher 06/16/07
I love Jenna's relationship with God - this is so authentic and true to "teenness" - I've been there. Excellent.
Trevas Walker06/16/07
The message here is simply awesome, and it is very well written. Great Job!! I honestly will be surprised if this one doesn't place.
Catrina Bradley 06/16/07
Very very good! One of my favorites so far! I was never the new girl, but I was always able to imagine myself in their place. I made friends with every new girl in my school. Now I know what made to such a thing. :) A new girl I befriended in 2nd grade is my best friend to this day. Love your writing, and I think teens will too! A great lesson, but not preachy at all. Well done!
dub W06/18/07
Perfect lesson, actually, there are two lessons here, the second is hidden, but I will save that for a sermon some time. Thanks for sharing.
Dee Yoder 06/19/07
Beautiful story with a perfect setting for teens. Your characters are realistic and your descriptions of how God speaks and the Holy Spirit's tug on the heart are wonderful.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/21/07
Congratulations on placing with your wonderful story.
Mo 06/21/07
Great story & lesson!