Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Handout (04/14/11)
TITLE: Unexpected Restoration
By Ruth Neilson
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He looked around and made a face. Jeremiah was a few feet off from where he normally sat. Those few feet were always the difference between a good day and a bad day in receiving hand outs. Jeremiah knew the closer he was to the temple gates, the more generous people seemed to be. He had to move himself now. With a practiced motion, Jeremiah dragged himself across the cobble stone street until he was in his spot. He retrieved his metal bowl from his pouch and slyly looked around before dropping a few pebbles in it to draw more attention to the bowl. It never did sound like coins clinking against each other, but it was passable. And it worked in the long run.
Jerusalem had been oddly still in the past two months. Ever since the supposed Messiah was crucified everyone seemed subdued, including the Romans. And Jeremiah didn't like it, not at all. Rumors had begun to spread that the supposed Messiah's followers had reorganized themselves and now a new faction of Judaism was trying to spread.
Idly, he rattled his bowl. It was rude to out and out ask for handouts. At least that's how Jeremiah always viewed it. A passing rabbi, complete with his entourage of disciples, dropped a handful of coins into the bowl and Jeremiah dipped his head, muttering his thanks. Only after the group passed did Jeremiah hazard a look into his bowl and then he smiled happily. He did have to admit, after this supposed Messiah fiasco, everyone had become increasingly generous. Jeremiah quickly fished out the two small pebbles and tucked them back into his pouch.
The day stretched on and Jeremiah stretched lazily before his eyes landed on a couple of men walking into the Temple Court. They were talking quietly between themselves but their hand gestures where animated telling a different story. Jeremiah just had to try this pair.
"Has it not been taught to remember the poor because they are always around?" Jeremiah inquired using the words of the supposed Messiah. After all, He did talk a good talk.
The two men paused and looked at Jeremiah. He smiled as charmingly as possible and rattled the bowl once more.
The pair glanced at each other and then back at Jeremiah. The leader finally spoke. "Look at me."
Jeremiah forced his eyes to meet the heated gaze of the speaker, his bowl still hovering in the air. The leader crossed over the Jeremiah and grasped his arm tightly before speaking again.
"Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk."
Jeremiah frowned and then gasped. A strange feeling flooded his legs and without warning the man's grasp on his wrist tightened, pulling Jeremiah up to his feet. For a moment, Jeremiah stood there in disbelief. He was standing on his own. For the first time in his life, he was standing. He quickly glanced over at the two men.
Not knowing what else to do, Jeremiah leapt into the air. He gathered his money and ran into the temple courts. He had to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving because he knew that he would never again have to live from handouts.
Acts 3:1-10 (NIV)
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