Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)
TITLE: Jeremiah and the FGsh
By Robert McFaddin
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It was hard on his father, Phineas, trying to provide for their family. Jeremiah, who was only ten years old, had begged his father to let him go into town to find a job. However, after Rachel had spoken to him, Phineas relented and allowed his son to go find work.
Jeremiah found a job almost immediately cleaning the stable for a local inn. It didn’t pay much, but it was a job.
He wasn’t the only boy working there. The owner’s son Zephaniah worked there too. He was three years older than Jeremiah – a fact the older boy never failed to remind Jeremiah of.
Now the more Jeremiah thought about it the more he didn’t like Zephaniah. The older boy was constantly picking on him. Jeremiah remembered their conversation earlier in the day.
“You know,” Zephaniah sneered, “the only reason you got this job is because my father couldn’t stand to hear you whining.”
Jeremiah had ignored him and continued his work. At the end of the day they received their wages. Zephaniah made it a point to show Jeremiah he had more coins. Jeremiah clutched his coins in the palm of his hand. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to buy the food his family needed.
He looked at the sun as it began to sink lower in the sky and realized again that it was getting late. The thought of how happy his parents would be when he brought home the food made him smile.
As he turned to leave the market, Jeremiah ran into Zephaniah and two other boys. They teased him as they followed him through town. Zephaniah laughed at the small portions Jeremiah clung to. He pointed to the baskets full of huge fish and bread the other boys were carrying for him.
“This is what a real day’s wage buys!” laughed Zephaniah. “What do you have there –crumbs and some fish?”
Zephaniah turned to his friends, their laughter feeding his ego.
“You better hurry home ‘little Jerry’. You don’t want some stray cat snatching your supper!” Zephaniah cackled.
Jeremiah felt the anger rising within him but the thought of disappointing his parents kept him from losing control . Yes, Zephaniah was a jerk, but he was right about one thing: It was time to get home. Jeremiah started to run. Zephaniah and the others chased after him.
A short distance out of town they came across a crowd gathered to listen to a man speak. They all had gathered to hear what he had to say. Jeremiah just wanted to go around them. With Zephaniah and the others close behind he decided to cut through the crowd. He hoped to lose them in the crowd.
Just when he thought he had lost them, he felt a shove from behind that sent him falling to the ground. He had managed to hold onto the food. Zephaniah and his friends stood over him laughing.
That did it! He set the basket of food on the ground and leapt to his feet. Just as he started to lunge at Zephaniah he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned and saw what looked like a fisherman. The man’s skin had obviously been weathered by many days in the sun.
“Excuse me.” the stranger said. “My name is Andrew. I’m a disciple of the Master - Jesus. I was wondering if you would be willing to share your food with the people gathered here. It’s getting late and the Master has asked us to feed them.”
Zephaniah’s friends looked from him to the man to the baskets full of food they carried and back to Zephaniah. Immediately Zephaniah stepped between his friends and Andrew.
“These are my fish!” Zephaniah said as he pushed his friends away from the disciple. “Go get your own!”
The man frowned as the older boys disappeared into the crowd. Jeremiah looked at his food and remembered the many times his father had told him of the importance of putting the needs of others before his own.
“Sir?” Jeremiah said.
“Yes.” Andrew replied.
Jeremiah smiled and held out his meager portions.
“It isn’t much, but you may have my food.”
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