Thomas mocked the prison guard as he walked past. "Here's a piece of warm bread," he sang sarcastically. "Who does he think he is, anyway? He thinks he's better than us because he has warm bread."
His cellmate turned to him. "At least he shares it with us."
Thomas let out a low chuckle. "Yeah, only so he can proselytize. I'm tired of it. He's always talking about how God has a plan for us. Some plan this is, you and me stuck in a prison cell. I've had it. I'm going to file a complaint against him. Let him see how getting fired works into God's plan for him."
His cellmate chuckled. "What are you going to accuse him of? Feeding us?"
"Oh, come on. Don't act so ignorant. We're being held in a federal prison, which makes him a federal worker. He's imposing his religious views on us while on duty."
By now the other prisoners in the cellblock had heard Thomas' rant. "You don't have to listen to him, you know. At least he treats us with respect."
"Yeah. Let it go. We like him. Who knows what the next guard will be like if he looses his job?"
"Can you honestly say you don't like the warm bread he gives us everyday?"
Thomas banged his fist on the small metal toilet that also served as a table. "It's not about the bread. It's about what comes with the bread.
His cellmate laid a hand on Thomas' shoulder. "Calm down, my friend. Don't do anything you'll regret later."
Thomas let out a scoffing laugh. "The only thing I regret is that I didn't think of this earlier when he first started spouting off about this God who loves us."
A few weeks later, the prison guard came to work for his last shift. "Apparently someone sent in a complaint about me sharing my faith," he explained, casting a pained look in Thomas' direction, as Thomas smirked at him from the corner of his cell. "They told me since I'm a federal worker that I'm allowed to share my faith. It would violate the separation of church and state, they said. Seems to me the state religion is Atheism."
The next day, the new guard came for his first shift. He paced the cellblock, his club tapping the floor, always at the ready. "Prisoners, I am your master for the next twelve hours. You shall call me 'Sir' and nothing else. You don't need to know my name as you do not deserve to use it; and don't bother telling me your names because I won't use them. Your prison ID number is all I need to know about you."
"Way to go, Thomas," a fellow prisoner retorted.
"You!" The guard's voice penetrated the air "...will not speak unless I give you permission. I run a tight ship, and loose lips sink ships," he said, chuckling at the pun. "And I wouldn't suggest filing a complaint against me," he stressed, staring at Thomas, "...considering they go to me."
Dinner time approached, and the guard rolled the cart with the cold bread around the cell block. He kicked at the cart, knocking all the bread to the floor. "Whoops. Clumsy me," the guard said with a grin. "I guess I'd better pick this up. He walked on top of the bread. "Whoops. There I go again." He scooped up the remaining bread in his arms, and made a dramatic lunge for the trashcan, as the bread fell in. "I just can't seem to get my act together tonight, can I?" he jeered. "Oh, and that just happened to be the last of the bread too. Better luck tomorrow, I guess."
The rest of the guard's shift was filled with the sound of his club echoing off the concrete floor and the prisoner's sniffles and coughs, as well as the occasional random laugh from the guard. A few minutes before lights out, as his shift was about to end, he stopped by Thomas' cell. "I heard you enjoy reading," he said with a smirk, as he slipped a piece of paper between the bars and walked off.
Thomas took the piece of paper in his hands, hanging his head in shame as he read. I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Luke 19:26 (NASB)
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