Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)
TITLE: Mile Marker in Faith
By Mary Lou Cook
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It is the usual kitchen that can be found in most churches. A small cramped room in the décor of another era, with outdated appliances and everything second hand, from the cooking utensils to the micro wave. Covering the small counter top is an old large micro wave in a finish of fake wood grain. When Tom is cooking at the stove Bonnie can’t open the refrigerator door without it banging against his back side. The harvest gold stove is worn out; the hot oven door fell off leaving Tom with burn scars across his legs. Tom and Bonnie continue to pray to God for a new stove.
The church board members discuss the worn out stove but nothing is ever done to purchase another one. There were other improvements more important, a new sound system, new ceramic tile for the front foyer, but never a new stove.
The rest of the volunteers are John, a young man with a learning disability, and Grace, a petite eighty year old widow. John chops vegetables and washes dishes. Grace places the salt and pepper shakers out on the tables. She stacks soup bowls, fills bins with plastic ware and napkins. When it is time for dinner Bonnie ladles the soup into the bowls and John serves the salad he has made. Grace serves the drinks and the desserts. Tom keeps busy bringing from out of the kitchen large pots of hot homemade soup.
For the past five years Tom, Bonnie, Grace, and John gather into a circle, hold hands and bow their heads. They pray for God to provide, that His will be done, and to bless the soup kitchen for His glory, not theirs.
As John washes the dishes Bonnie dries, she stares out the kitchen window at the new educational building being built.
“Miss Bonnie, that’s not right what they’re doing out there,” John stares out of the same kitchen window, “Mister Tom needs a new stove.”
“It’s okay, don’t let it bother you. Even with an old stove we can still do God’s work,” Bonnie said with an assuring smile.
Sitting on a chair resting, Grace says, “John, if this outdated kitchen can lead others to God’s Kingdom then we are blessed.”
Mister Tom’s scarred legs are mile markers of his walk in faith,” John said.
In the dining area Bonnie sees Tom talking to a sandy haired man, about the age of their oldest son. After dinner she sees the man helping Grace wipe the tables off. Later, she watches him help John gather up the trash and haul it out to the dumpster.
“Grace and John, can you stay longer?” Tom asked, “Bonnie, this includes you, the four of us need to talk.”
Behind her husband Bonnie sees the man smile at her. She hopes this means a new stove and Tom wants to share the praise of an answered prayer.
Everyone, including the man, sits at the end of a dining table. Tom’s face is full of happiness, he says, “Everyone, this is Pastor Michael Wilson. He is offering us a brand new soup kitchen with no outdated appliances.”
Excitement fills the Pastor’s voice, “While you feed the homeless and the needy, I will feed their souls. It will be a time of praise and worship. We will fill the hungry people with Tom’s homemade soup and the Holy Spirit. Everyone will come to know the Kingdom of God. Someone donated a building and the remodeling will begin. Tom and Bonnie, I want you to design a soup kitchen with the best of everything. Through different churches God has provided us with financial support.”
Grace, John, and Bonnie sit in amazement, God had answered their prayers.
“Grace and John, you are an important part of the soup kitchen. I hope you will join Bonnie and me in our next step in faith,” Tom said.
Bonnie with tears in her eyes said, “Tom it’s not our step in faith, it’s our mile marker in faith.”
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