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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)

TITLE: An Inconvenient Burden
By
12/02/07


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A young woman peered anxiously through her kitchen window. Outside, the afternoon sun warmed her herb garden, and a slight breeze carried the aromatic scents into the house. The pleasant fragrances lingered, but they did little to ease her worry as she watched and waited for her sister.

It was such a simple task, just a quick trip to the market for fresh fruit and honey. Not even two miles. What could be taking her so long? she fretted. She turned back to the counter and stared at the dough waiting to be baked.

Of all the days when there’s so much to do before we get together with... The sound of hurried footsteps interrupted her agitated musings, and she turned to face her sister’s excited chatter.

“Sorry I’m late. Did you hear who’s coming to lead the group tonight? I can hardly wait to see him!”

The young woman brushed her hair away from her eyes with the back of her floured hands. “Of course I know who’s coming. Why do you think I’ve gone to all this trouble to make sure everything is perfect and in order for him?”

Her sister laughed and hugged her. “He’s not a guest; he’s practically family. Aren’t you excited? He loves you. He doesn’t care what the house looks like. I don’t think he’d even care if we didn’t have a thing to eat.”

The young woman blushed. “Well, I care. The group has grown in numbers. I’m not sure we’ll have enough food for everyone.”

Her sister turned away. “He just wants to be here with us and share what he knows.” She washed the fruit and arranged it on a large platter before setting it in the middle of the table. “I wonder what he’ll teach on tonight? He’s so bold. Do you know what I heard in town? A group of men huddled together and argued about whether or not he was one of the ancient prophets.”

“Nonsense, how could that be? He’s just a young man. Here, put the bread in the oven, and check the stew while I get cups for the wine.”

“But you’ve heard him. He teaches with authority. He’s as fearless as a lion. It’s as if heaven opens up when he talks.”

“I know, and sometimes I’m afraid for him. The things he says...”

“The things he says are true. You know that.”

“Yes, but I also know the other leaders are whispering behind his back. And they complain that he is stealing away members from their groups. Did you hear me? The bread.”

“I’m putting them in. They’re just jealous, you know.”

“And you know what jealousy leads to. Do you think we have enough dishes?”

“Well, I’ve heard him openly put them to shame. He has a deeper grasp of the scriptures than anyone I’ve ever heard. When he talks, I feel like I’m listening to King David.”

“Dishes?”

“Yes, we have enough. Look, he’s here!”

“But the bread’s not done, and the stew...needs...” The young woman let out an exasperated sigh as her sister hurried off to greet the speaker. She wiped her hands on her apron and counted the number of people who had shown up to hear him teach. It was then she noticed he was watching her.

Back in the kitchen, she busied herself once more with dinner. It’s not as if I don’t want to hear what he’s saying, she argued, still embarrassed by the look in his eyes.

Her conscience continued to bother her as she tried to get everything organized. She had merely smiled her greeting, unlike her sister, who now was hanging on the leader’s every word. In her heart she knew the importance of having this meeting in her home, but her serving nature wouldn’t let go.

It's obvious he’s tired and hungry; people just won’t let him be. This group has gotten so big, there’s hardly have enough room anymore, and I certainly can’t serve them all by myself...

Overwhelmed, she glanced around and decided she was just going to have to talk to him about her sister’s insensitivity to what needed to be done.


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This article has been read 720 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/06/07
This brings Martha and Mary to life so vividly that I felt like I was a visitor in their kitchen. I loved the story.
Betty Castleberry12/06/07
This is a great behind the scenes look at a familiar Bible story. I didn't realize it, but Jesus was the first to start a Christian home group wasn't he? Wonderful writing. Big thumbs up.
Joanne Sher 12/07/07
Oh - do I ever LOVE LOVE LOVE this. The slow revelation of who these women were was absolutely delicious, and your characterization is just stunning. I haven't read much yet this week, but I can almost guarantee this is going to be one of my very favorites. Good stuff!
Sheri Gordon12/07/07
You did a great job of bringing this Bible story to life. The dialogue was excellent. I feel like I "know" Martha and Mary now.
Karen Wilber 12/07/07
I just love Martha. She's really trying to do her best and I just know that she "got it" when Jesus spoke with her. Great behind-the-scenes dialogue.
Emily Gibson12/08/07
Mary and Martha are two of my favorite New Testament individuals and I too have thought about the conversations they must have had together. You did this beautifully.
Lynda Schultz 12/08/07
The other commentators have touched all the bases—and I agree with them all. You did a great job of bringing these two women to life.
Sharlyn Guthrie12/08/07
Your depiction of these women is perfect ...and extremely convicting.
Laury Hubrich 12/09/07
Where would we be without our Martha's? They are the ones who make sure everyone is comfortable and has had plenty to eat. Much of what they do, we will never know. We're always so hard on poor Martha:) Great story!
Laury
Temple Miller12/09/07
Great retelling of an old story, giving it a fresh appearance.
LaNaye Perkins12/09/07
This is a wonderful retelling of one of my favorite lessons in the Bible. You did an awesome job of giving us a behind the sceens look. Great job!
Brenda Welc12/12/07
This was awesome! You brought the Bible to life here, great job!
LauraLee Shaw12/12/07
LOVE this! Written in skit form, this would be a very effective setup to a message or a women's conference. I could feel Martha's desperation and wanted to go help her make things perfect for Jesus.
Sara Harricharan 12/12/07
WOW! I love this new look at Mary and Martha, it makes the story so real! I never saw it like that, two sisters and thier differences being so different. This was great! I wish I could read more about what happened next, you did so well with this piece!
Tim Pickl12/12/07
Magnificent--a masterful piece! The Master smiles as you write.
Paula Titus 12/12/07
This story absolutely made the characters come to life, beautifully written.
Loren T. Lowery12/12/07
Love your opening scene, I could actully smell the herbs. Then I got convicted, have to admit I tend to carry the "Martha" syndrom around like a banner.
This kind of writing helps me to see why that banner should be laid to rest...but oh, it is such a struggle.
Really enjoyed the pace and rhythm of this piece, it was gentle and like I said, convicting. Sota like a velvet hammer. Great job!
Jan Ackerson 12/12/07
I love the pacing of their conversation. Authentic in every respect--well done!
Patty Wysong12/12/07
Super dialog and conveying Martha's feelings and frustrations!! You really brought this story alive--I love it. Hugs!
Peter Stone12/12/07
That's beautiful, I loved every word. I worked out almost immediately who the MCs were, and I loved the ending where you connected it to the Bible passage but let us finish it in our minds.
william price12/13/07
Okay, so you didn't write "A momdern day mary and martha".
This was/is a classic what "proably happened" story to a great Biblical account. Great dialogue, using it to define your characters. The story had an enjoyable pace, was written flawlessly and has a superb message. I love the smell of fresh bread. You really involved the senses in this piece, the opening especially. A great story I wished I would have read sooner. God bless. Oh yes, your title was one of my picks for two best for the week. (Now that I've seen it, lol) God bless again.
Janice Cartwright12/14/07
Just now trying to catch up on some reading that I have missed out on in the past few weeks. I have to tell you first of all I was delighted to read a Martha/Mary story: for my two cents worth, there are never too many. It's so interesting to see the sisters from a variety of angles as they exist in the minds of the individual writers, like a many-faceted jewel. You made me feel as if I too were a guest in their home, eager to visit with the Master, and you made me chuckle since I knew that Martha would eventually come to know the full identity of Jesus. Mid- you just did so many things well with this its hard to include all. Wonderful writing.
Chong Shipei12/18/07
Oh, Martha, martha...

This is a line that the Lord speaks all too often to me.

Being like martha is what I all too often am.

And I like your story... :) very much.