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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Pride (04/12/04)

TITLE: Hay and Stubble
By Jan Grupido


Where am I? I think it looks like I’m….. No! It can’t be! I’m here! Did I die? That light, where is it from? Oh, I see. I see it! It’s His throne! It’s Jesus! I’m here! I’m really here! Praise Jesus! Eternity! It was all worth it! I worked, and prayed, and gave, and tried, and yielded all I could through all the years. I can hardly wait to lay it all at His feet and hear, “Well done!”

Okay, I can do this. He loves me. It’s my turn to kneel. I’ll place this one first. He’ll be pleased. Oh, my! What was that? It was a flash. What happened? I don’t understand.

“Lord, your treasure? What happened? It evaporated like a magician’s trick. No ashes, no smoky smell, nothing! I don’t understand? Lord, I did it all for you. Didn’t I choose well? Did I make mistakes? Did I bless no one? Why did it burn, Lord? Why?”

“Look again, child. Lay another here at my feet.”

My hands are trembling now, “Yes Lord, I will.”

My thoughts are alive before me. A flash of time, past, re-groups and appears. This is more real than just a memory. It’s a moment of time from my finished yesterdays. I have to get closer. It’s unbelievable. This looks like a science fiction movie with computer generated, three dimensional holographs. Only, this isn’t special effects. It’s the work of Jesus! What I’m seeing is settling right before His feet....at the feet of Jesus!

I look at the painful moment that I had always thought better forgotten. Forgetting was safe and comfortable for me. “Lord, I remember this day. I was only 12 years old. My Dad was so drunk he couldn’t stand up straight. I was crying so hard. My Mom and brother had run from the house. Dad had threatened them with a gun. I knew he wouldn’t use it. He just wanted to scare them. He never came after me like that, but he sure took it out on them all the time, for no reason. It was so hard. It was so sad. I couldn’t do anything, but, I knew and believed you could Lord! I took my Bible and opened it. I tried so hard to get him to listen. I told him about the wages of sin, of your sacrifice and love for him. He didn’t accept you then, but he did later. Didn’t I plant any good seeds then? Didn’t any of it count for You?”

“Yes child. See, there, before me. Those small shining treasures, they have remained. You did plant them for me. The seeds grew and your father stands here with me now because you planted.”

“Thank you Lord. I knew I had done that for you. I loved my dad so much and I loved you so much. I just wanted him to be with us in eternity. I was only 12 but my heart burned to bring everyone into the kingdom. I knew I had to tell him”

“And you did, child. He listened and those seeds grew. Your child like faith and love are what remain. I accept this treasure.”

“But, then why do I see only these few small glimmerings laying here before you now? Please, can we look again?”

“Very well, we have eternity to talk. Bring another.”

His lips part and His very breath re-creates another moment of my life. It is materializing before Him, at the foot of the throne, at His nail pierced feet. I see myself sitting at the church organ.I was 16 years old. I wasn’t a great musician, just a willing one.

“Here Lord, look. See, I’m at the organ. Lord, I didn’t miss a Sunday. Not one! I was there every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I started playing when I was only 14 and continued to serve you until I moved away and went to college. I was always there, faithfully!”

“Yes child, you were. You would play with deep love for me, and fragrant praise would rise to me from the congregation. Your music helped others to see me and praise me. You served with love then, so there does remain some treasure. But look again. Do you see? There is Pastor Votaw. He’s thanking you for the beautiful offertory you played. Do you remember your heart? I do. It took such pride in what you did that day. You went home and practiced so hard the next week. You were determined to be even better. Do you remember?”

“Yes, Lord. Of course I do. After what Pastor Votaw said, I just wanted to be really good, so everyone would say the same. I stayed home and practiced even when friends asked me to go to the Friday night football game at school. Lord, I skipped the game to practice. How can that be burned up?”

“Look deeper, child. Do you see your pride? It fuels this holy fire before you. After that day, your heart wasn’t playing for me. You played for the praise of men. You chose your reward. Your reward was given to you back then and what remains has no value here.”

“Lord, I’m so sorry! I had wanted treasures to lie before you. My pride did this? My pride?”

I was sobbing. There was so much hay and stubble. So much. Pride fueled the holy flame and burned the things I thought to be such great treasure. Some of the money I gave, some of the Sunday school classes I taught, some of the “kindnesses” extended to neighbors, even some of the stories written and read.

What’s that noise? Oh, the alarm. It was a dream!? My face is wet with tears. It was so real! And now, a tune keeps running through my mind. It’s so familiar. It was the hymn I was playing at the organ when Jesus was talking to me. What was it? I have to remember. I absolutely must…… I know, ‘…My richest gain I count but loss. And pour contempt on all my pride.’ Selah, Lord Jesus.

Jan Grupido 04/18/04

Member Comments
Member Date
Melanie Kerr 04/19/04
That was excellent! As I was reading it brought to mind all the things that I do in Church. If I don't do them with the right heart they will all burn like hay and stubble.

That was very powerful writing.
Naomi Deutekom04/19/04
What a wonderful reminder of our purpose and goals in serving Christ. It is so easy to do things for the wrong reason and not even know it. Thank you.
Caroline Alderson04/21/04
It's all of Jesus and His abilites. We are only His stewards and should have pride in Him alone, in all of our successes. Very well done.
Leticia Caroccio04/21/04
Beautiful and powerful. That's why it's so important to live today as if it was your last. We must make it count for Him. It's all about Him. Once we learn that, it will truly be worth it all. Nicely done.
Jan Grupido04/22/04
Dear faithwriters, Thank you so much for taking time to read and critique this piece. I will try and be faithful to extend you the same courtesy. This article was based on some of my life's experiences and the accounting the Lord demanded in due time. I pray I stay true to Him in mixing "fictional" interpretation with factual incidences. Your encouragement is sincerely appreciated,
In His Love - Jan Grupido