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

TITLE: Bread of Life
By Allison Egley
11/28/07


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The guard slipped the piece of warm bread between the bars of the prison cell. "Here you go. You need this more than I do. That week old stuff they give you isn't any good."

The prisoner chuckled. "You're telling me. Thanks. I owe you one."

"No you don't. I owe you my life. It's the least I can do," the guard insisted.

The prisoner shrugged his shoulders. "Hey, I was put in prison for preaching the gospel. What made them think I'd stop once I got here? Besides, you were a captive audience."

"Right," the guard replied sarcastically. "I'd hardly call heckling you and hitting you with my club while you were talking a 'captive audience,'" The guard winked at him. "Besides, you're the one who's captive."

The prisoner groaned. "Well, you couldn't exactly leave your guard duty, so in effect, you were captive too."

The guard laughed. "True. Very true. There's just one thing I don't get. Why? Why did you keep preaching the gospel when you know I wouldn’t beat you if you stopped?"

"Well, it's like I said before. You couldn't leave. When I was out in the streets preaching, people could just walk away. There's another thing too. I knew you were listening. I could have talked about anything else and you wouldn't have cared less. But the moment I mentioned 'Jesus' you were right there."

The guard stepped closer to the prisoner. "You know, I wanted to believe the whole time. I wanted to believe it was genuine. When you didn't cave in when I was giving you such a hard time, I knew. I knew for the first time in my life that it was genuine. Oh, sure, there are other prisoners who would try to tell me the gospel, but the moment I laid my hand on my club they stopped. But you didn't. I knew that a God who could give you that kind of courage and protect you wouldn't let me down either."

The prisoner shook his head as he smiled. "You see, I knew it was a test. God has given me the gift of discernment. I don't think you know this, but you are the only guard I ever bothered to preach to. I knew the others had given their hearts to the enemy. But God wasn't finished with you yet. I've seen a change in you since you gave your life to Him. Well, I mean, besides the obvious change of you not beating me anymore," he replied with a wink.

"Really? What's that?" the guard intrigued.

"Well, for starters, you've shown mercy and compassion not just to me, but also to my fellow prisoners. The whole attitude of this cellblock changes when you come on duty. Even those who are in here for violent crimes are calmer when you're here. It's like we know we’re among friends. I can't quite explain it."

"Huh," The guard replied with a sudden realization. "Now that you mention it, I have noticed a difference since I came to know the Lord. The other guards seem to think this is the worst cellblock, but I haven't had many problems. It's strange, isn't it?"

"Maybe to us, but not to God. God gives each of us gifts to use to build each other up. He gave me discernment, so I knew you were an open heart. And I think you have the gift of mercy and compassion. Not all guards, even if they are believes, would give away their bread to a prisoner. They seem to think we deserve the week-old stuff."

"Oh, thanks for reminding me," the guard replied. "I'd love to chat some more, but I've got to go bless some more prisoners before this gets cold," he replied, holding up a fresh loaf of bread. "But before I go, I need to give you this," he said, handing the prisoner a piece of paper. "I realize you already know this, but not all of your fellow prisoners do, so I thought I'd help get the word out."

The prisoner looked at the slip of paper and let out a hearty laugh, as he praised the Lord for another soul saved. John 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst." (NASB)


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This article has been read 963 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Yvonne Blake 11/30/07
Interesting setting! I've often thought of the guards around Peter and Paul. I"m sure they got a preaching to everytime.
Janice Cartwright12/01/07
Your characters are lively and lifelike. I felt like a little mouse in a pocket, listening to their conversation.
Laury Hubrich 12/03/07
Your title was very appropriate for this entry! Good job in portraying your MC's.
Laury
LauraLee Shaw12/03/07
This is so well told that I pictured the entire scene being acted out on a church stage. This would be a great setup for a sermon on spiritual gifts. I also enjoyed your scriptural tie-in at the end to put the exclamation point on the message. Great piece!
Dee Yoder 12/03/07
Unique place to share the gifts God has given! I can think of no better place to reach out and share the gospel than a prison.
Patty Wysong12/04/07
Allison, I Love the humor you weave into your stories! Their interchange was fun and it taught too. Good job! Hugs!
Shelley Ledfors 12/04/07
I loved how I was drawn right in to the setting and characters. An instant connection, not to mention a great message. Wonderful!
Temple Miller12/04/07
I loved it. Your story was very much like a parable.
Jan Ackerson 12/04/07
Very good--this reads almost like a drama rather than a short story. Get your church to stage it!
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/04/07
This was presented clearly, ralistically and in an interesting manner--right on topic.
Joanne Sher 12/04/07
I enjoyed this - great scripture for the end especially. Perfect title too!
william price12/04/07
I like stories about corrections. Great message. God bless.
Sheri Gordon12/06/07
Congratulations on your EC. This is well written, and a good take on the topic. Great way to show our gifts can/should be used -- whatever our circumstances.
Peter Stone12/06/07
Congrats on your EC placing. I found this article quite touching and the humor was a pleasant surprise considering the setting.
Catrina Bradley 12/06/07
Love it! Not only did the prisoner bring the guard to Christ, he is now discipling him, teaching him about the gifts of the Spirit. I think he has more than discernment. Well done, and congrats on your EC!