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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)

TITLE: Just One Life
By Cecily Carroll


So often in this life, I am tempted to seek earthly treasures and forget Christ’s call to leave all and follow Him. One night as I contemplated this thought, I fell into a restless sleep. While I slept, I dreamed I was journeying through life.

Upon meeting Christ at the foot of the Cross, I also met “Faith” who became my companion, and sought to encourage me as I traveled.

Not far into my journey, I noticed that the road had grown steep with rugged ledges. Nuggets of gold glittered among the rocks.

“Set your affections on things above,” Faith whispered, pointing upward.

After traveling with my eyes turned upward for some time, I lowered my gaze to the road ahead and saw a short, bald headed figure approaching. Though his expression was smug, he looked friendly enough, so I greeted him.

“Good day!”

“Good day! I believe we are old friends!”

“You do look familiar. What is your name?”

“I am Self! Shall we walk together?”

Because he looked so amiable, I agreed.

“Pay Self no attention,” Faith instructed. “Keep looking upward.”

But Self was chattering on and I hated to be rude. “Did you notice all the gold in these hillsides?” Self asked, stopping to examine the glittering nuggets among the rocks. He clawed away at the loose dirt and took a handful of gold.

I quickly followed suite.

Around a bend in the road we noticed a man dressed in tattered garments. He held out a tin cup as we passed, but his eyes were closed. "He must be blind," I realized.

“Freely you have received, freely give!” Faith encouraged.

I dropped a small chunk of gold into his cup.

“You’ll need some for later,” Self reminded greedily.

I hesitated, and then tucked the rest of the gold into my knapsack.

Soon we entered a tiny village. Thin, hungry children begged me for something to eat.

I looked at Self but he shook his head, “We don’t have time for that! We’ve more gold to gather!”

“If you have done it unto the least of these you, have done it unto me,” Faith quoted softly. He tried to look into my eyes but I turned guiltily away from his scrutiny.

“Self is right,” I thought. “If I am ever to make my way in life, I will need plenty of gold.”

By noon, my shoulders were weary from the mass of gold I had accumulated in my sack. I looked up briefly to notice that the gates of Heaven weren’t as far off as I had thought!

Looking around, I saw ripe wheat fields ready to harvest.

Faith weakly called to me from several paces back, “Work for the night is coming! The fields are white unto the harvest!”

“We’ll need a place to rest after we’ve worked in the fields,” Self drawled sluggishly. “Why not stop and build a dwelling first?

While pondering both suggestions, I saw a few men laboring in the ripe wheat fields. Their skin was dark and leathery after hours in the sun. “Self is right,” I thought. “We’ll be tired after working in the fields! We could even build a small house for the laborers.”

As Self suggested, we constructed a dwelling. It became more of mansion then I had intended. We spent most of our gold, but I managed to save a few pieces to build a hut for the laborers.

When I shared my plan with Self, he argued, “We’ll need that for furnishings. We can give them one of our rooms to stay in.”

I wondered vaguely where Faith was. Self was looking uglier by the minute! Besides, the sun was setting and I knew the Lord would soon be calling us Home.

The Laborers did rest in the mansion, but I didn’t have much time to work in the fields before I heard the trump sounding. The Lord had returned!

As I entered the beautiful heavenly gates and Christ greeted me, I felt ashamed. My time in life had been so brief! I had so little to offer Him! Before me, a small fire was burning. Most of it consisted of wood, hay and stubble. With horror, I realized it represented my work done on earth. Christ looked on, sadly.

I awoke, the sweat drenching my pillow. How fleeting is this life and what it has to offer! I prayed for Faith that I might do the will of Christ.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Patty Wysong03/13/08
I loved this--the message is wonderful and powerful. Personally, I wish it hadn't been set within a dream, it seemed (to me!) to lessen the impact and take away from it--but that's just my opinion. The message is quite powerful, and one that I needed to hear.
K. J. Cash03/14/08
It's not easy to ignore the cares of this world. It takes focus. This story inspires that focus.
Marilyn Schnepp 03/15/08
This struck me like a bolt of lightning. Just one life...and so short, and what had I done for others? Great message here and made me THINK about "Self", "Faith" and what to do about the remaining years of my life. Great entry! An edifying dream and Kudos to you for a job well done.
Deborah Engle 03/17/08
This was excellent.
Mandy White03/17/08
Beautiful job! A great reminder of what life is really about.
Joanne Sher 03/20/08
I LOVE a good analogy, and this is DEFINITELY it! Excellent - congratulations on your highly commended. Wonderful piece.
Sheri Gordon03/20/08
Congratulations on your Highly Commended. This is well written. It reminds me of "Hinds Feet on High Places," and the Bible story about the farmer building larger barns for his abundant crops. Nice job with the topic.
Catrina Bradley 03/24/08
I love your personifications of Self and Faith. Great writing, great story. Congratulations on being Highly Commended - well deserved. :)