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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Reward (09/27/04)

TITLE: Preacher Man
By Teresa Lee Rainey


Jamie’s limo driver pulled away as she quickly raced past the poorly dressed, preacher man on the corner of 16th and Vine. She wondered how such a disheveled individual could have anything interesting to say. He obviously didn‘t know the meaning of style. His suit looked as though he shopped clearance at Sears. However, he had certainly been drawing a crowd, with his talk of heavenly rewards, for nearly a year now.

“Oh well”, she thought as she rushed into her elaborate, corner restaurant, “at least business is booming.”.

“Hey Jamie,” Josh, the morning manager, greeted her as she pushed toward the kitchen. “Preacher Man is keeping us busy again today. Do you think I could take him a bagel?”

“I suppose one bagel off my profit won’t kill me. Sure, Josh, I’ll write it off as a donation.” Jamie dismissed Josh to attend to his charity mission and returned to her task at hand. She had to sample the new chef’s ideas before confirming tomorrow’s flight schedule.

Tomorrow would be a month since she and Charlie began dating. What better way to celebrate than taking a private plane for a romantic, fun-filled, weekend rendezvous in Vegas? This boom in business certainly afforded lots of extra perks.

The sampling session took less time than anticipated and Jamie was pleased with the continual parade of customers as she pressed toward the exit. Preacher Man was still going strong as her limousine appeared in the distance. She heard, “. . . and the laborer is worthy of his reward. . .”, while she ducked into the back seat.

“Yeah,” she thought, “I worked hard for what I have. I’m going to take full advantage of my rewards.”.

Monday morning held an eerie silence as Jamie hurried to the back meeting room of her business. The somber looks of her employees only served to heighten her curiosity of the reason for a serious decline in clientele over the weekend. Josh had spoiled her weekend’s fun with a call of desperation over their dilemma. This morning’s meeting was the result.

“Does anyone know what is going on here?” Jamie needed answers as she sank into the nearest chair.

“Well,” one of the waitresses spoke up, “Preacher Man hasn’t been around since Friday and the crowds died without him. . .”.

“Speaking of dying,” Josh interrupted, “I think this is our Preacher Man’s obituary story on the front page of every local newspaper.”.

“Hey, that is him!” Jamie was shocked as she reached to take a closer look at a simple, head-shot photo on one of the newspapers’ headlines. “What does it say?”

“It says that he was a multi-millionaire! He inherited a huge family estate five years ago and chose to donate much of it to charities. He died in his sleep Friday night. It sounds like he was a family man who lived in a normal neighborhood and other than a few close friends and family members, no one knew he was filthy rich. Apparently, his widow was interviewed and she sounds as preachy as he always did. She is quoting some scripture in Luke about how when you are blessed with a lot, a lot is required of you. She also says something about storing up their treasures in heaven instead of enjoying earthly rewards.”

“How crazy is that?” Jamie snorted. “How could someone waste so much time preaching when he could have been living life in the fast lane?”

“I don’t know, Jamie.” Josh looked at her hesitantly. “He seemed to have it together when I spoke with him. I’ve been seriously thinking about much of what he had to say.”

Jamie rolled her eyes as she quipped, “Well, you wouldn’t see me giving up my ’earthly rewards’ that easily.”.

“Seems like you may not have a choice.” Josh shot her an annoyed glance as he replied, “What do you intend to do about our lack of customers?”

Jamie hesitated a moment before commenting. “I wonder if hiring a new preacher man is out of the question?”

Member Comments
Member Date
Teresa Lee Rainey10/04/04
Scripture referenced:
1 Tim. 5:18
Matt. 6:19-21
Luke 12:47-48

I had such fun writing this. Hope you enjoy.
Would love critiques, good or bad. :^)
Kenny Paul Clarkson10/04/04
Well done, Teresa. Interesting that Jamie thought her rewards belonged to her. You get a vote.
Joanne Malley10/04/04

Glad you had fun writing it...that's a perk of writing! I had fun reading it too! I meet a lot of people who credit their rewards only to themselves. The harder they hold on to them, the farther they push themselves from God. Thanks for the great message.
Corinne Smelker 10/04/04
Good points, well made - good job
Lynda Lee Schab 10/04/04
I thought this was great. You painted a true picture of someone who doesn't have a clue about "heavenly rewards". Unfortunately, even those of us who do have a clue don't always "get it".
Good job with the story -greater job getting the message across.
Blessings, Lynda
John Hunt10/04/04
This was GREAT! I loved it. Well written, captured my interest from the get-go and held it throughout.
Great read and great message!
Glenda Lagerstedt10/04/04
Interesting how Jamie didn't realize that she was prospering because of the preacher man. Aren't there many people like that who are blessed yet mock the Christ and the Christians whose faithfulness is the reason for those blessings in the frst place. Good work.
Lucian Thompson10/04/04
Teresa, Another great article by you. I love to read your works. I see you as a kinda Sally Fields, Flying Nun, persona; sweet…petite…and full of life!
Lisa Beaman10/05/04
I thought this was a great story. I liked the twist of the Preacher being wealthy. I didn't see that one coming! A lot of stories are predictable, I liked being surprised. I think you did a great job!
Marcell Billinghurst10/05/04
A lovely story and message about those who live for self and want all the credit for their efforts and the kingdom of God and one
who gave up all and lived for God. Nothing can compare with the rewards of heaven to those who are are faithful servants. Well done.
Zillah Williams10/05/04
Catchy title :-) Good punch line.Makes one wonder what happened next - could this be the beginning of a longer story?
Angie Schulte10/06/04
Teresa, this was great! I really enjoyed reading it. It is amazing that some people don't get it, and you conveyed that very nicely. The story flowed very well and kept me in to see what was "next". Thanks for sharing... Angie
Annette Bury10/06/04
I so enjoyed your story - Very well written. And what a good reminder of what's important, not all the stuff and good times we sometimes feel we must strive for.
Mitzi Busby10/07/04
Teresa, I enjoyed your story. It is so true.
L.M. Lee10/08/04
i really liked this. Everyone was so critical of Mel Gibson's film, but the "revenues" of the film have been a financial blessing to everyone from the ticket taker at the theaters to the people in video stores who sell them. I liked this approach to the topic.
Deborah Porter 10/11/04
Very, very good Teresa. I liked the fact that you didn't actually round everything up with a rosy ending. You left the question hanging in the air. What did Josh end up doing? What did Jamie end up doing. But then you finished it with an excellent response that reflects the world's attitude. Very good.

I've just started doing the proof-reading and editing for this Challenge (making an early start this time) and need to check one thing with you. Could you send me an e-mail as soon as possible please Teresa? My e-mail address is debporter@breathfreshair.org

Thanks for that! Love, Deb