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

TITLE: Hands and Feet
By Pam Carlson-Hetland


Shelli closed her Bible with a sigh. The sanctuary buzzed with conversation as people waited to shake Pastor Tomís hand after the service.

"That was so inspiring!" one lady exclaimed. "Iíve never heard a sermon like that. Now I know what God has called me to do."

"Wish I did." Shelli thought to herself. "Maybe God didnít give me anything special."

Shelli looked around, quickly identifying several individuals who obviously served the Lord with their talents. There was Valerie--softly playing the piano as the sanctuary emptied. Shelli recognized the song that Valerie had composed. It had blessed the entire congregation today during Worship.

Off in the corner, was Keith. As an elder, Keith was well known for his ability to make wise financial decisions for the church. His fundraising efforts paid off the mortgage for the new addition one year early. Many suspected that he and his wife had been anonymous benefactors to several families over the past few years.

Bethany, the Wednesday night womenís Bible study teacher, waved from across the room. Shelli admired how she could explain the most difficult passages so simply.

A crowd of well-wishers had gathered around Charlotteís wheelchair. Her turban, covering the ravages of chemotherapy, was slightly askew from so many hugs. Charlotte was a nurse who had cared for so many others through illness and grief. Her compassion for hurting souls was renown. Even cancer had not stopped her from reaching out to comfort others.

Shelli left church that day totally confused as to where she fit into Godís plan in the body of Christ. Later that week, she stopped in to see Pastor Tom.

"What a nice surprise." Tom greeted her and motioned to a chair. "What can I do for you?"

"Iím ungifted."

Tom frowned. "Ungifted?"

"I took notes on your sermon about the gifts of the Spirit. I donít seem to have any."

Pastor Tom was about to laugh until he realized that Shelli was quite serious. He cleared his throat.

"Why do you think that?"

"Well, Iím certainly not musical and I canít lead worship like Valerie."

"Valerie is extremely talented, I agree. But she just told me yesterday that she was able to write that song because you have been babysitting her young children one afternoon a week. Thatís when she prepares for Sunday worship."

"Oh, yeah, well thatís no big deal," shrugged Shelli. "I take her kids and mine to the playground and let them run off some energy. On rainy days, we bake cookies or something."

"That reminds me. Keith mentioned that you organized the bake sale fund raiser. It brought in about $500.00 more than he was anticipating."

"Really?" Shelliís eyes widened in surprise. "That was no problem, it was fun. I love to bake and the kids helped decorate the cookies. Bethany gave me a new cookbook so we tried out lots of recipes."

"Speaking of Bethany," he interjected "itís been difficult for her to get to Bible study since her car broke down. I understand that youíve been bringing her on Wednesdays."

"She only lives a mile from me. Itís not far out of my way. Sheís such an excellent teacher. It would be a shame if the women had to miss her class."

Tom picked up a folder. "I have a Parish Nurse report here. Judy said youíve been doing Charlotteís laundry."

"Her washing machine is in the basement. Itís impossible for her to get there. I have so much laundry, whatís another load or two?"

Tom was thoughtful for a minute. Grabbing a pen, he sketched an outline of a body. Then with a few snips from a scissor, he turned the picture into an amputee.

Holding it up to Shelli, he asked, "If Valerie had no hands to care for her children, how could she compose praise music? If Keith had nobody to make the goods to sell, how could he raise funds? If Bethany had no means to get to Bible study, how could she teach? And if Charlotte had no help at home, how could she still be ministering to other cancer patients by phone?"

People with the gift of serving or Ďhelpsí are the hands and feet of the body of Christ. None of these people could use their gift as effectively, if you werenít operating in yours."

Shelli smiled. "Hands and feet? Thatís my gift? Thatís easy."

Tom smiled back. "Not for everyone--just the gifted ones."

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/29/07
Very good--I know a person just like Shelli, and she is similarly humble.
Kristen Hester11/29/07
What a perfect illustration of how the body of christ needs everyone! Some "parts" are more glamorous or get more attention, but the Shellis are needed just as much. Great writing. EXCELLENT!
Joy Faire Stewart11/29/07
Great reminder that God has given each one a talent. Wonderful job on topic.
LauraLee Shaw11/29/07
This story was a very smooth read, and it was entertaining as well. I could picture the pastor's satisfaction in removing the "UN" out of the woman's "UNgiftedness." Well done.
Chrissi Dunn11/30/07
Oh, well done! I'm glad all her 'behind the scenes' efforts were noticed. It's so true that not all gifts are 'up at the front' ones, but all are equally important. This was well written too.
Laury Hubrich 12/01/07
I'm not too creative this week on my comments but will say that this was a most enjoyable story!
Temple Miller12/04/07
Great illustration. I really enjoyed it.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/05/07
You brought out so many of the gifts well and presented a delightful mc who was gifted far beyond her own imagination. Excellent writing.
Sara Harricharan 12/05/07
Oh I like this! What an understanding (and practical) Pastor Tom. I liked his example of cutting out the shapes and showing her the hands and feet, the real kicker is the last few lines though. Loved this!
Mariane Holbrook 12/05/07
I love this. The gift of helps is so underestimated and so misunderstood. So many want a gift that's showy, that gives praise here on earth. But for those who have the gift of helps, who operate behind the scenes, God has very special rewards waiting in heaven. Nicely written and you drove home that truth!
Betty Castleberry12/05/07
Sometimes our gifts aren't obvious.I can relate to Shelli. This was well constructed, and a very good read. Well done.
Laurie Walker12/06/07
Woo Hoo Pam!!! Huge congrats for 1st place and EC as well. This story truly deserves it. So beautiful.
Joanney Uthe12/06/07
What a touching story. I often feel like Shelli and needed to read this today. Congratulations on the EC. You deserve it.
Judy Burford12/06/07
Great job, Pam. Congratulations on winning first place! It's amazing, but true, that many Christians do think that they are "ungifted".
Sheri Gordon12/06/07
Congratulations on your EC. This is a perfect illustration of a gift that so often goes unrecognized. Great job.
Ann FitzHenry12/06/07
Awwww! Great work. What a wonderful reminder that the little things really DO make a difference!
Peter Stone12/07/07
Congrats on your EC win. I loved the way that every time the MC mentioned another name, the minister said that the MC had helped them in some way. The ending was perfect.