Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Outgoing (05/05/11)
- TITLE: The Heavenly Hound
By Cheryl von Drehle
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“I don’t hear anything…” murmured Frank, as he quickly disappeared out of the kitchen.
Beth sighed again and returned to her task. She knew it wasn’t writer’s block that was troubling her, as her thoughts turned bitter: today, I am President of the Board. Tonight, I will be the outgoing President. They give it such a nice title – “President Emeritus.” Why don’t they just call it what it is: “President Has Been.”
Beth didn’t consider President to be just a title. Sure, the prestige and power were nice, but what she really loved was the work. She got to organize, plan, and implement. She loved the responsibility of developing alternatives to homelessness. Okay, perhaps there was a bit of ego involvement, but the challenge of presiding over her denomination’s homeless initiative, being the spokesperson, having people seek her out…that is what drove her to excel. She didn’t just delegate to everyone else and take all the accolades. She prided herself on being a team leader.
She heard that darn hound barking again…what on earth does it want? “Frank, can you get that dog to shut up?” Frank poked his head back into the kitchen. “Beth, honey, honestly I don’t hear anything.”
“How can you not hear that? Well, never mind.” Beth got up from the table, poured her coffee down the sink drain, and refilled the cup, returning to her troubled thoughts: I need to get serious about this. As outgoing President, what do I want to say? She re-read the Bible verse she had picked for the evening’s annual full board meeting: 2 Timothy 4:7 -- "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith."
She became even more unsettled as the barking seemed to draw closer. Trying to focus, she read the context of her verse: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure… .” The barking now sounded urgent…and then she had an epiphany: Lord, this is not about me, is it? This is not about my successor either…this is about You.
Beth quickly scanned through the beginning of the letter to Timothy, and found what she was looking for in the first chapter, “...by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” Yes, there was her message…how had she not seen that before? Her outgoing was incidental both to the board, whose work God would direct as He pleased, and to her life, which was also under God’s divine and benevolent direction.
She glanced quickly at her watch, startled to realize she needed to leave in five minutes. She hesitated briefly, then impulsively wadded up her notes, leaving them scattered on the kitchen table as she got up. She flipped the light switch off, and walked into the hallway. Donning her coat, Beth called back over her shoulder, “pray for me tonight, Frank, that the Lord will give me the words to bring glory to his Name.” As she was going out the front door, she was struck by the calm of the evening…the barking had stopped.
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