Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sightseeing (08/08/05)
By Debbie OConnor
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She unlocked the door of her shop—one of many nestled along the shore. It was a novelty, and so was she. The neighboring business owners considered her a religious kook, but they appreciated the responsible way in which she conducted business. Many of them became her friends over the years, and several met the Lord through Margie.
Margie and Bob had decided to live on the beach soon after their marriage. They gave up dreams of big money careers for faith and family, believing themselves modern missionaries to the hordes of tourists that flocked to the beach every year.
They raised five children who gave them twelve grandchildren. Each was serving God and all credited Margie and Bob with being their first witnesses to the truth of the gospel. After thirty happy years, Bob went home to the Lord. Margie continued alone, sustained by the grace that had long been her strength.
“I love you, Lord…” Margie sang softly as she turned on lights, made coffee and lit candles. She loved the sweet vanilla, mulberry and cinnamon fragrances as they mingled through the room. She switched on her sound system, checking the mix of music. She fiddled with an arrangement of flowers and flipped the switch to light the open sign in the window.
It wasn’t long before a couple of surfers came in looking for sunscreen and wax for their boards. Margie prayed softly to herself, “God help me encourage them.”
“Hello boys, can I help you find anything?”
“Nah, we got it.”
They were in and out quickly, unaware of her prayers, but Margie knew her blessing would follow them. She was satisfied.
After a while, a young woman came in to find a birthday card. Margie pointed her toward the right section, and prayed that something she read would touch her heart.
A couple of teenage boys came in to browse through the t-shirts a few minutes later. Margie saw them pointing at ones with Christian messages and rolling their eyes. She prayed the Lord would soften their hearts.
All day long they came—a steady stream of sightseers from every occupation and region. Margie prayed for them all, and encouraged those who were receptive at every opportunity.
Late in the day, some girls came in. She saw them whispering as they browsed through books, t-shirts, CD’s, and collectibles.
After a while, one of them approached with a CD. “Ma’am, I noticed that you have your Christian merchandise mixed in with the secular. I’ve never seen anyone do that before.”
Margie smiled. “It is a bit unusual.”
“Why don’t you have a Christian section? That way people could find things more easily. It took me and my friend a long time to find this CD.”
“I could do that, and I’m sure that it would be easier for Christians to find what they’re looking for in my store if I did. However, not everyone who enters my store knows what he or she really wants. See, I’m a fisher of men, and I have learned something very important about fishing over the years...”
“If you want to catch fish, you need to use bait.” She smiled broadly.
The girl returned the smile slowly as she caught her meaning.
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