Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)
TITLE: Was it Worth It?
By Hiram Claudio
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He was raised in the finest of families and attended the best schools. From a young age he was fashioned for great things. He became a student of one of the most noted thinkers of his time. He knew he wanted to do something great, something noteworthy, something people would remember.
And so he began what he thought would be his life’s work. He was tireless. He was the best at hunting down those who believed differently, bringing them to what he called justice. He quickly became known throughout the land. He was greatly feared him. If you were the ones he hunted, it was vitally important to always know where he was. He was that good … at being ruthless.
Then, the day came. For him, it was like any other. He was on a mission to root out the infection that had risen against his faith. He was passionate about being ‘the one’ to destroy all heresy. He was convinced he believed not simply the true way but the only way that was permitted. Debating was insufficient. Consequences had to be served to those who dared to follow this new teaching.
So as he was traveling on that day, heading toward another crusade, he was interrupted. It was a light, a bright light. So bright it stopped him in his tracks and knocked off his high horse … in more ways than one. Falling to the ground, he became dazed yet remained curious. What had stopped him? What dared to block his noble pursuit?
Then, he heard a Voice. It said, “Why are you persecuting Me?”
Persecuting you? While puzzled with the question, the voice rang deep in his soul as oddly familiar. It was a voice he’d never heard but one that seemed to resonate. He responded in the way that felt natural and appropriate.
“Who are you, Lord?”
He wondered silently why he was calling this mystery person Lord. The Voice answered and his life was changed forever. All he’d been trying to silence, all that he’d set his gait against, all that he believed to be total error … was actually eternal truth. He asked the Voice again.
“Lord, what do you want me to do?” Later in life, he would often wonder about that question, pondering whether he would ask it again it he really understood all that awaited him. Thinking about it made him smile.
He endured much after that question. He had a new passion now, a new belief that placed him on the opposite end of his former life. He would suffer much, be beaten and vilified. He would know little rest, find no home, and enjoy few comforts. He was now focused on spreading something called … good news.
His life would experience many blessings but few capable of being properly measured in this life. He was accumulating treasure, but none that would benefit him here. He was guided by a reality that death presented some measure of gain. His earthly journey was the sole possession of the One he’d encountered that day.
Now, we see him sitting in a prison cell, awaiting a final consequence. It’s one he’d brought to so many others. This final and ultimate act of service had followed him every day since that Voice arrested him on that road. He knew one day it would be here. So he sits at his table and starts to write. He’s written so much, letters to friends and messages of encouragement to small groups he helped launch. He wondered if any of these words would be viewed ever again.
He’s writing to a dear friend and colleague, his beloved Timothy, one he had reared in this new way and in whom he loved like a son. He’s filled with so much emotion. Is this really it? Has the time finally come? What can he say to him? Should he convey how much pride he feels for young Timothy? So many thoughts race through his mind. Was it all worth it? Had he achieved anything lasting?
Then, with a peace in his soul that is not of this world, he writes, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
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