Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)
TITLE: The Sword
By Stephen Paynter
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“Katie, come back here, young lady, and apologise to your father.”
“I have nothing to apologise for!” Her sobs could be heard from her room.
Miranda looked at Peter and shrugged. “She'll come round eventually.”
“Will she? I hope so.” Peter rubbed his neck, and sighed. He had another headache coming on.
“God is calling us on this adventure. He has put us together in a family. He will bless us as a family as we obey him.”
“How much longer are you going to give us the silent treatment, honey?”
“Why should I talk to you? You don’t want to hear what I think.”
“That just isn’t true, Katie. Your mother and I care very much about your opinions.”
“Don’t be a hypocrite, Dad. If you really cared, you would not be dragging me away from all my friends, my life, my country, to some god-forsaken third world hell-hole.”
“That’s just the point, Katie. It is not ‘God forsaken’. He is sending us there to proclaim his gospel.”
“Don’t ‘whatever’ me. Don't you care that we’ve been honoured with the call to go and share God's love where few know of it? This isn't something you can dismiss with a flippant ‘whatever’.”
Katie sighed. “Alright, but I’ve already tried reasoning with you. You guys just ignore my arguments.”
“That just isn't so, darling.”
“Fine. Here goes. But I already know it won’t work. If you really want to preach, surely there are ‘sinners’ enough for you here, without travelling all round the world to look for them. And if they won’t listen to you here, what makes you think you will be any more successful in a foreign country where you won’t even be able to speak the language properly for ages?”
“No Christian converts someone else; that is the job of God’s Spirit. One implication is that if we are to be fruitful, we must go where God calls us, so that we are ministering where the Spirit is working. In any case, Jesus is our Lord; we have to go where he sends us. That is what it means for him to be ‘Lord’ and for us to be his followers.
“You just don’t care, do you? Why can’t you wait a few years? Dad, in a couple of years I’ll be out of High School. Then you can jet off wherever you please. Is this too much to ask?”
“Honey, I know this must be hard for you. It ...”
“Katie! Come back! .... Well, that went well!”
“It is all so frustrating. If only she would give it a chance. Life wouldn’t be that bad. She would soon make a new circle of friends at that international school.”
“I know. I’ve tried to tell her that. Hmm, Miranda, love, you realise that if she doesn't come round, they will advise us to wait another year before they send us out.”
“I know, but what more can we do? We’ve got the whole church praying. I’ve used every argument, every approach I can think of ... I’m at a loss.”
“Maybe we could arrange for her to stay here? ... Honey, are you alright?”
“I’ve - oh – I’ve been trying to put off thinking that. I can’t bear the idea of us being separated. She’s my little girl. She is going through those awkward teenage years. She needs her mother.”
“So ... what are you saying? That we shouldn’t go?”
“No. We have to. Our call is too clear. I guess we ought to look into the possibilities of leaving her behind. .... Oh! What are we doing?”
Peter hugged his wife. “I know, I know.”
They were both crying.
“So, Katie, we have a compromise. Grandma Jill has agreed that you can go and stay with her.”
“So ... I’ve still got to leave my school and friends? Great compromise, Mom!”
“But you will still be in this country.”
“Katie, don’t talk to your mother like that! Show some respect.”
“Do you know what, Dad? I’m not a hypocrite. If I don’t show any respect, it must be because I don’t feel any.”
“Go to your room this instant, and stay there until we call you.”
“And you wonder why I don’t have any respect? .... I ... despise you for your selfishness. I despise your selfish God too!”
”Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to turn, ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law --- a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”Matthew 10:34-39
“‘I tell you the truth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘no-one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.’” Luke 18:29-30.
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