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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Favoritism (02/28/05)

TITLE: No Place For Sissies!
By Lois Jennison Tribble


Molly slammed the front door and stomped into the kitchen. She grabbed a cookie and a glass of milk as she charged down the hall to her bedroom, shoving the door closed behind her. Mrs. Burgess looked up from the checks she was writing and listened: something was wrong. She tiptoed down the hall and stood outside the door. "Molly? You didn't say hello. May I come in?"

"Sure, Mom." Mrs. Burgess entered to find her daughter slumped across the bed, eating her cookie.

"What's wrong, Molly? Did you have a bad day at school?"

"Just the usual. It's Mrs. Nichols -- she picks on me. I thought sixth grade was going to be fun. Instead it's 'Molly do this, and Molly do that. Molly won't mind -- why don't you see if Molly will help?' I'm sick of it, Mom! Why doesn't she treat me like she treats the other kids?"

Mrs. Burgess sat down beside her daughter. "Oh, Molly. Mrs. Nichols has no idea you feel that way. I ran into her at the grocery store last week, and you know what she said?"

"I can't imagine," Molly snarled.

"She said you are one of her all-time favorite students!"

"You've got to be kidding!" Molly gasped.

"No, I'm serious! But just because someone thinks well of you doesn't mean you'll get special favors. In fact, many times you get just the opposite."

"That doesn't make sense," Molly complained. "You mean people pick on you because they like you?"

"Let me give you an example. . . How about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and how God treated her? Mary was a typical teenage girl just a few years older than you, living a normal life. But apparently Mary wasn't as typical as she seemed. How do you think she felt when an angel came to her and said, 'Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you' (Luke 1:28 NIV)."

"She probably thought it was awesome!" Molly said.

"Maybe. But the Bible says the words greatly troubled her. Even though she was young, maybe she understood God better than most. Most people would think being favored meant a ticket to 'Easy Street', making them healthy, wealthy, and wise all their lives."

"Right, Mom: all gain and no pain!"

"Well, that's not what happened. The angel told Mary even though she was a virgin engaged to marry Joseph, she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Son of God -- before their marriage. Do you know what that meant in Jewish society? Jewish law said Mary should be stoned to death for that!"

"Wow, Mom. I never thought of that!"

"How could she ever explain? What would her friends think? What would her parents think? What would Joseph think?"

"She was in big trouble! That's what I think!" said Molly.

"You bet she was, but Mary responded to God in faith. She trusted Him to take care of her, acknowledging His right to control her life and use her however He pleased. She was willing to obey God, no matter what the cost. And to do that, she set aside all her secret dreams and desires. God had another plan, and His took priority. Can you imagine what it felt like to be in her position?"

"Now that you put it that way, no," Molly said.

"Being in God's favor is no place for sissies! It brings greater responsibility, not worldly riches. It changed Mary's whole life, but it never gave her a 'bed of roses'.

"I guess it makes my grumbling about Mrs. Nichols look stupid, huh?"

"Well. . . I don't know if I would have used those words, but it does -- just a little," Mrs. Burgess said. "Learn to be more patient. And if it's still really upsetting you, tell Mrs. Nichols how you feel. Maybe she can find another favorite to share the load. After all, you're just sharpening pencils -- not having God's baby."

"Oh, Mom!" Molly groaned. She squeezed her mother's hand and sat up. "Do you mind if I get some more cookies?"

"I guess it's okay," Mrs. Burgess said. "Just don't spoil your dinner. And while you're at it -- would you mind sharpening these pencils for me, and emptying the kitchen trash?"

"Mom!" Molly yelped.

"Just kidding, just kidding. Only I didn't want you to feel neglected!" Mrs. Burgess laughed as she raced Molly to the kitchen.

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This article has been read 1316 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 03/07/05
Very cute story with a good message. Clever thinking to write something about the favor of Mary. Well done!
Blessings, Lynda
Phyllis Inniss03/08/05
Such a clever way of seeing favouritism and applying it to your situation. The dialogue between mother and daughter was also very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Nancy Hardy03/09/05
Very nicely done! A lesson readers of all ages will learn from. Thank you for letting me one of those readers. - Nancy
Dave Wagner03/09/05
Wish my daughter was that responsive to Bible illustrations. Seems a bit too polished to me, I guess for that reason...I find it hard to believe a sixth grader would be that receptive, and wouldn't just space out, nod as though listening, and then immediately dismiss what mom had said.

From a nuts-n-bolts perspective, it's built well. It's worth reading. Thanks for posting.
donna robinson03/10/05
The story was good reading but i understand what the above poster meant. I wonder how many 12 years old would have really listened and cared? But then maybe we are short changing them because in a household where they were always taught about God's wisdom, maybe it would be receptive!
Linda Germain 03/10/05
This would be great in a teaching situation for girls of just that age. Well done.
Sally Hanan03/10/05
Well, cough cough, MY 12 yr old would be that receptive... not that she's my favorite or anything :)
I loved this story. It was very polished and why is that a bad thing? (re: another comment) I have a 12 year old and he would be very attentive and receptive to an explanation like the one given in your story. Great job!
Karen Deikun03/11/05
This was an excellent perspective on favor. I loved that it isn't for sissies! Don't know if an average Christian 12 year old would get anything from thinking of all that Mary gave up - but I did!
Kathy Cartee03/13/05

Good teaching. I do believe in our world today a twelve year old christian girl would understand this more then say a sixteen year old girl, Simply because in our world today so many teenage girls are having babies before marriage and it is sad to say it is accepted way to easily.
I believe twelve years of age is an excellent time to teach such a lesson.
well done .

Debbie OConnor03/14/05
Awesome work, as always. I didn't get a lot of reading done last week, so I had to wait for the "reveal" to find you. Great story, great lesson, great writing.
Deborah Porter 03/14/05
Congratulations Lois! 3rd place in the Editor's Choice and 2nd place in the Level 3 Champion Challenge. Well deserved. Love, Deb
Deborah Porter 04/04/05
Just back again today "collecting" your story for the next FaithWriters' Anthology, and only just read the comments made about a 12-year-old not being receptive to this sort of teaching. Got to say, they are not only receptive to it, but they eat it up and take it on board (whether you realize it at the time or not) - provided the avenues of communication have been kept open beforehand. My two (nearly 20 and nearly 18 - girl and boy) are testimony to it. It really is a great story. Love, Deb