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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: Special Delivery
By
11/26/07


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Meredith was seething. “How could Pastor Joe say I need to use my gifts? I go to church every Sunday. I sing in the choir. Isn’t that enough?” She clenched her knuckles so tight, they turned white. Her jaw ached from the tension and her head hurt.

Slumping onto a veranda seat stuffed full of floral cushions, she began to weep silently. She worked five and half days a week so they could live more comfortably than she did as a child. Her vision blurred as she scanned the manicured lawn, perfectly pruned shrubs and roses in full bloom. The house looked like it belonged on the front of a house and garden magazine. A sob broke loose wishing her marriage was as perfect.

She drew her legs up and rested her chin on her knees. God, I want to do more for others, but I don’t have any gifts. Mrs. Stevens cooks meals for new mothers and Jenny sews quilts for the needy. Alan teaches the youth. Even Daniel, who is intellectually handicapped, is always repairing things. The Jones’s have a real gift for marriage counseling and…

*DING DONG*

Meredith wiped her eyes as she walked past fuchsia baskets that dripped with hot pinks and purple. She passed the trimmed potted plants that lined the stark white veranda palings, around the corner and past the crystal clear front window. A delivery man stood at the front door holding a large brown package.

He turned toward her as she approached. “Special delivery for a Meredith Connelly.”

“That’s me,” Meredith replied, taking a notebook from the short balding man to sign.

“Enjoy your afternoon, Ma’am.”

Meredith returned to the veranda seat and began untying the string. That’s odd, it’s Sunday. They don’t make deliveries on Sundays. She turned the package over and over. No sender’s name. She opened the box and peered inside. Empty! But it feels full. She noticed strips of paper lying on the bottom of the box with words written on them. She gathered a few in her hand and began to read.

I gave you the gift of hospitality, but your home is never opened to others.

I gave you the gift of teaching, but when there was a need for a temporary Sunday School teacher, you ignored the plea.

I gave you the gift of service, but you never had the time to water Mrs. Jessop’s’ garden when she was ill.

I gave you the gift of encouragement, but not a word did you give your own dear husband when he struggled with acceptance from his new boss.


“What is this?” Meredith pulled the remainder of the notes from the box and studied them. She froze. “How can this be? No one knew any of this except… Oh God, you gave me these gifts but I’ve never used one of them for the body of Christ. I’ve been selfish. Forgive me.” She wept, pouring her heart out to her Father.

Meredith placed the box on the floor beside her and dropped the notes inside. She entered the house through the back door with a purpose in every step. She found her husband sitting in his home-office, the aroma of leather and cedar wood meeting her through the open door. “John, I was wondering if we could have Bible Study here.”

John looked up, on his face a surprised expression. “Are you sure?”

She took in a slow, deep breath. “Yes, I’ll finish work early on Wednesdays so we can eat together before everyone arrives.”

“That would be nice. I’ve missed eating together.”

“John, you mentioned this morning that you’ll be leading the group through Romans twelve this week—about the body of Christ and gifts…”

He stood and walked round his desk. “Why the change?”

“Let’s just say I had a special delivery,” she smiled awkwardly. “I haven’t coped since you’ve taken up the position as Assistant Pastor and I know it hasn’t been easy working under a Senior Pastor like Joe. What can I do to help, John? How do I use my gifts to help you? How do I use my gifts to help the body of Christ?”

“My dear Meredith, I believe you have discovered how. Whatever this special delivery was, I’d like to share in it.”

They walked hand-in-hand to the veranda while Meredith explained, but the box was gone. The notes were gone. Yet, somehow they both knew; they had just received a special delivery.


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This article has been read 709 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dianne Janak11/29/07
Loved this special delivery story. There are so many opportunities we miss. And for all the wrong reasons, but God's grace came through and she was changed. Great idea, creative, appealing, and fun while teaching us a good lesson..
Jan Ackerson 11/29/07
I loved, loved, loved the first two-thirds of this. What a powerful image--the "heavy" gift, the notes, the gentle nudgings...I almost feel as if it should end with her pouring out her heart to her Father. The rest was almost anticlimactic. End it with the prayer, and your readers might follow suit...

Really strong entry.
Joanne Sher 11/29/07
Very convicting and engaging. Great descriptions.
Laury Hubrich 11/29/07
Very good story. It was good to see how the special delivery changed the MC's life:)
Laury
Christine Dunn11/30/07
This story began very well. I loved the overall lesson to be learned about using the gifts God gave us. It really made me think - How many opportunities have I had, but haven't grabbed them?
Betty Castleberry12/03/07
So good, and a great reminder that we do need to use our gifts. I enjoyed this.
william price12/03/07
I needed the reminder. We need to use our gifts. Super writing as well. God bless.
LauraLee Shaw12/03/07
This is a sweet, feel-good story with the kind of ending I enjoy. Supernatural messages are the best kind!!!! :)
LauraLee Shaw12/03/07
Adding on.....Also, convicting at the same time....one thing that came to my mind is how many books about evangelism I have on my shelf compared to how often I actually do so. OUCH!
Dee Yoder 12/03/07
Special Delivery, indeed! Powerful messages of how to use our gifts, and also how we often ignore these gifts by being too busy, or simply being thoughtless. Inspiring story.
Shelley Ledfors 12/03/07
What a wonderful idea and really powerful message. Great job!
Joy Faire Stewart12/03/07
I love the idea of "Special Delivery." The story is unique for the topic and has a great message.
Temple Miller12/04/07
Great story with a message I needed to hear.
Patty Wysong12/04/07
Super job!! I loved how the box felt heavy even though there were 'only' scraps of paper inside. Excellent! Hugs!
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/04/07
I really enjoyed this story that hit the topic straight on. The description was good, particularly in the passage about the veranda. I liked the way she changed her life immediately because of the special delivery.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge12/04/07
This is so good Chrissy, it almost comes over like a parable! The details also explain where she's been placing all of her emphasis and spending too much valuable time... ouch.
LaNaye Perkins12/05/07
I loved how you described the box feeling full, but it only held the paper slips. I also loved how you show her emphasis was in all the wrong places before the delivery. Great job Chrissy!
Sara Harricharan 12/05/07
I have little goosebumps dancing the polka after reading this. The whole piece with the special delivery and her change of heart...wow. I wish there'd been a little more room to read more about her and everything. It's like the beginning of a novel. Great job!
Amy Michelle Wiley 12/05/07
So often we ignore the gifts God gives us, or complain that we can't do it "good enough". Great story!
Ann Renae Hair12/09/07
Goosebumps! I loved it Chrissy! I'm so glad God does speak to us...and glad when we listen and obey. Beautiful story!