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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)

TITLE: Seen Singing
By Nathan Perkins


Alan and I were closing up after a busy night at the Pizza Shop. The rest of the staff moped around.

I had a wife to get home to. I was also looking forward to catching some zees before my 6am alarm would send me to my other job at the book store.

Alan was the night manager. It was not his usual position and he wanted to impress the “real” managers; the ones who actually get pail salary for the job.

It is actually impossible for a manager to earn their pay in a 40 hour week. If you take the time to figure out what it would equal in hourly wage you would not be impressed.

Alan apparently didn’t realize that the salaried position was not really as pretty as it was made to look. This night the managers all got out of closing by making Alan think he should aspire to advance a management position.

He did aspire but to very little avail.

I saw Alan crumbling with the weight of responsibility of curtailing the motley crew of other staff.

Alan looked at me and with eyes of desperation. I was the only person helping clean up the wretched mess.

I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Alan, they’re going to do what they’re going to do. I think the best we can do to motivate them is to set a good example. Part of doing that is to have some fun working hard.”

Alan’s eyes lit up. “We could sing!”

“I love to sing.” I told him.

And we busted out with the only song we both new perfectly, “Amazing Grace.”

I usually sing tenor and Alan had an awesome base voice. We broke into harmony and even created a spectacular echo in the song. We did all of this as we worked.

Not a word was said to motivate the team. And there was no real evidence that they gained any motivation. But something even better happened.

Rafee and Lamont were the only two people that night who would not have claimed to be Christians.

Michelle and Danielle were sitting on the back steps taking a relaxing smoke break with the non Christian guys. The girls were doing their best to meet them on their level, as they saw it. This included cussing and bragging about less then scrupulous behaviors.

The girls also made sure that they talked about church and even invited Rafee and Lamont. When Rafee and Lamont got tired of the show (the girls were really putting on a horrid show) they decided to escape by getting back to work.

Alan and I were tossing dishes and singing our hearts out, soaked from the task and oblivious to what the rest of the staff were doing.

“Man, you guys are pretty good!” Rafee said, after watching us wash the dishes and sing.

Then Lamont asked, “Why - you guys so different?”

“Different in what way?” I asked.

“I ‘don-know. Its-jus-dat, lot of peopo talk bout church and how religious they are. You guy aint like dat.”

“Wow!” I was a little taken aback, in a good way. But I gave a stalling response, “Whey! I thought you were going to say you thought we were weird, like stupid weird. The kind of different you’re talking about is a lot better.”

Alan lowered his head a little with humility, “I’m not really all that great. If you knew some of the things that I do and think you wouldn’t think I’m different.”

Lamont responded by saying, “No you are different. You actually live what you believe. It is obvious your faith is more then just a game. I look at some people who talk about God in one breath and cuss his name in the next. I see them at the same parties I go to and they don’t live any differently then I do. When I see them I wonder ‘why would I ever want to be a Christian if it doesn’t help me live a better life and become a better person?’“

Rafee added agreement as Lamont continued. “You’re not like dat. I can see dat you have something…er live differently.”

I guess our song was heard and God’s message to be seen.

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This article has been read 435 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/28/08
I love the bits of dialect that add authenticity to this story. Well done.
Jacquelyn Horne02/29/08
This is a very good example of living our faith. Be sure to let somebody edit your work for errors before you submit it. It would have read a lot smoother without the verb and spelling errors. But the pov is well taken here.
Joanne Sher 02/29/08
Creative - and good characterization. Enjoyed this.
Tim Pickl02/29/08
I can almost smell the pizza, see the characters and hear the singing -- excellent story.
Seema Bagai 03/01/08
Realistic characters and natural dialogue.

Perhaps consider getting a challenge buddy who can help you proofread and fix the grammar and spelling errors.

Keep writing.
Marilyn Schnepp 03/01/08
Good message and story line; however, (A genuine critique) needs tightening up as it rambles. Also needs editing BEFORE entering...as others have already stated, to edit out errors & typos. Practice makes perfect. Keep at it!
c clemons03/01/08
On topic, needs what previous commenters have said, keep writing and practicing.
Andrea Hargrove03/03/08
I think I'd lose the beginning if you ever rewrite this- it has little to do with the plot of the story and is therefore misleading. Besides that, you have a good pace.