Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)
TITLE: Special Delivery
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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…
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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