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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)

TITLE: Five Hundred and Fifty Animals Richer
By Joanne Sher


I'm sure, at the time, he thought he was taking the easy path. It was at my expense of course, but that's certainly no surprise. He's been grasping at my heel since before I can remember.

What I can tell you, however, is that it took every bit of livestock he gave me to appease my anger. Years of bitterness are not easy to remedy. I have to admit, though, that the menagerie he sent did the trick. All's good with us again - after twenty years of bad blood.

Since my brother was a child, he'd been a mama's boy. He was no lightweight, though. That deceiver tricked me into selling him my birthright for a hot meal. He was always one to try to get something for nothing.

You see, I was the hard worker in the family, and dad's favorite for sure. I'm a hands-on guy: working in the fields, hunting game, the outdoorsy type. I work hard and generally reap the rewards of my labor. Sure, I'm impulsive sometimes, but who isn't?

My brother, on the other hand, is a schemer, an "intellectual," who only works as hard as necessary, using trickery to get more than he deserves. When I lost my birthright, I was mad, but after a few weeks, I was over it. After all, I sold it to him of my own free will. I should have known to watch out for him. Anyway, it's not like he stole it from under my nose.

The blessing, though, was another story. I couldn't have stopped him if I tried. That brother of mine waited until I was doing some real work, then he cut corners, convinced Dad he was me, and stole what was rightfully mine, with the help of my mother. All I can say is Mom was wise to send him away. I probably would have strung him up if he'd as much as come near me.

Of course, if she thought I was mad when Jacob left, she was clueless how much that anger would build inside me over the years. Every time I looked at my mother, my hatred for my brother intensified. By the time Jacob's messengers arrived in Seir and told me he was on his way to see me after twenty years, murder was all I had on my mind. I gathered up 400 of my closest friends (well, my closest angry friends, anyway) and started marching his way. "Favor in my eyes,*" indeed!

Anyhow, as we marched, a servant approached us - with 220 goats! Now this was something I didn't see every day. I asked the man to whom he belonged and where he was going. He told me, and I quote, "they belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.*"

Well, who in their right mind would refuse 220 goats? So, I took them, as at least a partial payment for what that deceiver had done to me. I was still planning to tear him limb from limb, mind you - but at least I now had some livestock to show for it.

What do you know, but a few minutes later another servant showed up, this time with 220 sheep. I took those too - who can't use a nice big herd of sheep? I have to admit these gifts were softening me a bit. I might have only injured him severely if he'd shown up then.

This went on for at least an hour. Next, it was thirty camels and their young, followed by forty cows and ten bulls. That Jacob sure knew how to break down a man's anger. I was only mildly peeved (as I drank a nice cup of fresh milk). I still wanted to do that boy bodily harm, but a few slaps in the face likely would have satisfied my wrath.

It was the next delivery, however, that removed that last bit of animosity. When I saw those thirty donkeys braying and strutting toward me, I suddenly realized how ridiculous I had been acting. Here I was, a wealthy fulfilled man, fuming over a grudge twenty years old.

As Jacob and his family approached, I ran up and embraced him. All was forgiven. Like I said, those gifts did the trick.

You know what, though? If he'd just apologized sincerely and maybe made me a nice dinner all those years ago, Jacob could have been 550 animals richer today.

* Scripture references, in order: Genesis 32:5, 32:18 NIV

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This article has been read 1236 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sara Harricharan 01/10/08
This is certainly a brand-new look at an old story. The last line is great, it shows the humor and makes Esau a little more realistic. Good job.
James Clem 01/10/08
Well written perspective. The last line is a good clincher, but looking back a 2nd time... the last line in the first paragraph is the most Clever. ;-)
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/10/08
I couldn't get my mind around a Bible story for this proverb, but you did it excellently.
Beth LaBuff 01/10/08
Great entry! I love how you creatively used this Bible story and you came from Esau's viewpoint. Your added humor is perfect!
LaNaye Perkins01/10/08
I really enjoyed your telling of this story. Well done.
Catrina Bradley 01/10/08
An excellent look at a familiar story, told from an "insiders" view. Nice use of humor throughout the piece, and I love the line "...he's been grasping at my heel...", cluing us in to who the MC is right away. Love the ending!
Gregory Kane01/11/08
Creative retelling of the well-known Bible story. I liked the way the narrator’s attitude developed as the story progressed and the ending was cleverly done.
Ann Renae Hair01/11/08
Historical and modern at the same time. Great work bringing this Bible story to reality. This one helps us remember that these are people we read about, not 'characters'. Loved it!
Rita Garcia01/11/08
Creative take on a story from long ago! Well done!
Charla Diehl 01/13/08
Factual, entertaining, humorous, insightful, and I too, loved the ending. God blessed you with creative writing--thanks for sharing.
Joy Faire Stewart01/14/08
Loved MC's voice and perspective, very unique. Excellent take on topic.
Betty Castleberry01/14/08
I *loved* this. The last line truly made the whole story. As usual, it's well written, and held my attention. Thumbs up.
Sheri Gordon01/14/08
Ooh, nice twist on a very familiar Bible story. I have never thought about ALL the consequences that came from Jacob's decisions. This is very well written, and extremely clever. Nice job with the topic.
LauraLee Shaw01/14/08
OH, that ending got me! I loved hearing this from Esau's perspective. Example of excellence here....
Catherine Pollock01/14/08
Well done! It was awesome to get the story from Esau's perspective, and I really think the ending is what clinches it.
Jan Ackerson 01/14/08
Awesome, Jo--your last line is a great kicker, and your title is fantastic. This is a superb POV and the fit with the topic is top-notch.
Hanne Moon 01/14/08
Great job! And the irony at the end is priceless. Esau comes alive in this one. No red ink here!
Holly Westefeld01/14/08
Interesting handling of the topic. First person makes a unique POV for this.
Karen Wilber01/14/08
I love this story and you really pulled off a great POV. I also like the last line - "made me a nice dinner" Tooooo funny!
Debbie Wistrom01/14/08
So well done, I love your ties to the OT. Thanks for the refreshing look.
Temple Miller01/14/08
I laughed and hummed in amazement all the way through this terrific, bringing-the-Bible-to-life story. I loved it!
Dee Yoder 01/14/08
Joanne, you made this familiar story come to life. I like it when a writer can create humanity in Bible characters. It's sometimes hard to remember that they all had thoughts, feelings, and real emotions. I love the POV in your version!
Janice Cartwright01/14/08
I wondered, "Now how is Joanne going to get a stitch in time out of Esau and Jacob's life story?" Then at the first hint it was to be the scenario where Jacob returns home and offers his brother a bribe, er uh gift, I said aha. Perfect.

Sorry no red pen for this one. I'll leave that for a better woman than me! :)
Linda Watson Owen01/14/08
Way to go, Jo! You really DID make Esau come to life and in such a delightfully almost whimsically engaging way. Esau has always been a rather vague character in my mind but you made him real indeed! Great job!
Patty Wysong01/15/08
Oh, I like! I wondered how you were going to tie it to the topic, and you did it quite nicely. I've wondered about this (Esau) before and this is a very plausible explanation. I like it! The voice was just right. Great! :-) Hugs!
Tim Pickl01/16/08
An excellent, creative twist! This one could be a skit for church!
Julie Ruspoli01/16/08
Very nice. I thought of that Bible story when I began reading and was pleasantly surprised to find out you were writing about it. Great article and message.
James Dixon01/16/08
Great fun. I have a brother too...
Jeff Lowe01/17/08
Great story. Lots of 'flavor' in this one!