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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: Before the Throne
By Beckie Stewart


“How is he doing, Sue?”
“Just a few more minutes, Carol.”
“Well, where is his family?”
“Beats me. I called them hours ago to let them know, but they haven’t shown up.”
“They haven’t been here much lately, have they?”
“Not since he went into a comatose state a week ago.”

John listened to the words of Sue and Carol, but he did not know them. “Who are they talking about,” John wondered. Why couldn’t he hear the voice of his wife and kids? Slowly, John realized they were talking about him. He had no sense of time and struggled to open his eyes to ask about his family.

John felt the anger seething within him. How could they leave me alone that long? He never let anyone or anything stand in his way to fulfill their desires. Money had been tight most of the time, but he always managed to somehow get it for them. Yes, time with them had been sparse before he got sick. What did they expect? He worked hard to finally attain this position and was not going to willingly give that up. Certainly, they knew and understood the importance of what he did.

As his fury built within, he felt an odd sensation throughout his body. His pain disappeared. Was he finally receiving the healing from his cancer? Suddenly, his eyes were opened. He realized he wasn’t in the hospital anymore. The talking women were nowhere in sight. Where was he? He stood in a place void of color and dimension. “John,” a voice called. He turned around and saw no one. “What have you done with my Son?”

“Oh, I know this answer,” John said. “I accepted Him as my Savior.”

“Really?” the voice inquired. “Where is the proof?”

“That is easy,” John began his recitation of deeds over his 55 years of life. “In Jesus’ name, I always used my gift of teaching in every church I attended. In fact, in His name, I started a new church that now has 200 people attending it. This church originated in a small store, and I eventually got a building. I achieved all of this with a youth leader, an adult Sunday School teacher, and a children’s program director. I sacrificed my....”

“Enough,” a response came as loud as thunder.

A man now stood before John. John knew that he should know him well, but he realized he did not know him at all.

“I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness,” the man sadly spoke to John.

“What? Why?”

“Nothing was done in my name,” the man kindly but firmly stated. A deep rage stirred within John's spirit. “You used lies, slander, deception and dissension to convince your followers to divide my church. You ignored my love and forgiveness toward you in those you wounded. You led astray those who had tasted my grace and tickled their ears with your forms of godliness. You may have used my name, but I was never present.”

The man spread His arms, and John saw the nail pierced hands.

“You are Jesus,” John spoke as he turned to leave. Indeed, he never did know Him.

Based on Matthew 7:15-29; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; and Revelation 9:18-21, New American Standard.

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This article has been read 589 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Colin Swann02/04/08
Are you trying to scare us into being sure of our stand in Christ? What a challeinging message - please God, don't let it be me that doesn't know you on the Day.
Thanks for a scary, challenging message.
Marita Thelander 02/04/08
I understood your heart in this article. In ministry, I see this type of "spirtuality" all too often. As far as red ink, I can only tell you what I am trying to learn as a beginner. Use strong, colorful and exciting words.
Jan Ackerson 02/05/08
Good job with showing us this man's thoughts and feelings in his last moments.

My only comment is that this is a familiar scenario in Christian fiction, and in order to stand out, it needs some very different twist. You've got more words--can you think of some way to surprise your readers?

Great one to be read at an adult Sunday School class for a discussion starter.
Mary Barrow Little02/05/08
This brought up a lot of emotions for me ~ not too pleasant ones.... Powerful piece. My Dad was a well respected man who passed away in anger ~ you illuminated my greatest fear. Ouch. Thanks ~ :-)
Karen Wilber02/05/08
Maybe you wanted to leave this open to interpretation, but I kinda wondered what the man did to "divide the church". My question is influenced by a church split that I witnessed. But this is a good solid piece that would be a great discussion starter.
Dee Yoder 02/05/08
Though it is an often used theme, you managed to create a character who got my attention. I like the way you put a light on his motivations-that's where the true heart of a believer reflects Jesus.
Gerald Shuler 02/06/08
Thought provoking entry. From this preacher point of view... this preaches.

What I like is that the MC is a self-deluded, self-empowered, self-righteous deceiver of his flock. All Christ wanted him to be was self-less.

Thanks for writing this.
Sara Harricharan 02/06/08
What a twist. I didn't expect that sort of ending, but you definitely made it real enough, I felt as if I were there too. Excellent job! ^_^
Holly Westefeld02/06/08
I liked this, and thought it exemplified the topic well.
My first thought as per Jan's suggestion was having him revived, and truly repenting, but I think that's been done too.
Joy Faire Stewart02/06/08
You have brought to mind much "food for thought." And that makes for an interesting read.
Joanne Sher 02/06/08
A good tie-in to the topic. I also would have liked a bit of a unique take, but this was well-written.
Loren T. Lowery02/06/08
A bit chilling. Lets us know that we must examine our hearts to our real beliefs and the true reason for our actions. Well told.
Debbie Wistrom02/06/08
What a bold reminder. Makes one look deep inside, thanks for the nudge. Tomorrow could see this high on the list. Keep up the good words!
Laury Hubrich 02/24/08
Great writing, Beckie. This is one conversation I would never want to be part of! Great job!