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.”
“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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