Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)
By Marita Thelander
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I pulled the nails out of my mouth long enough to shout, “Cool.”
I knew I had a couple minutes before Allen and the new guy reached me. I shoved two of the three nails back in my mouth and pounded away. Lickety-split, just like that, I had finished as they approached.
“Tom, this is Nikki.”
I turned and faced the new guy, only it wasn’t a guy. I wiped my hand on my Carharts before I shook her hand. Not because they were dirty, but because they were suddenly sweaty.
“Hey, Nikki,” I attempted to hide my surprise. “Good to have you on board.”
Nikki’s large green eyes had flecks of gold in them if you looked real close. I didn’t look that close, but I sure wanted to. I had to take my eyes off of her to pick up the hammer I dropped when I missed the loop on my pant-leg.
“I’m thrilled to be here. You have no idea…” Nikki’s hand went to her heart and her eyes welled up with tears.
“She has a story to tell, that’s for sure.” Allen winked at me.
Allen always brought me people who had a story to tell. I laughed to myself, but this time, I really wanted to hear the story.
“Let’s see,” Allen smiled at Nikki. “Nikki is very creative and handy with a hammer, too.” Allen turned his attention to me, “Why don’t you show her around and see where you think her skills and abilities can be an asset on your end of the development.”
I hadn’t been on the job very long. Truth be told, I felt extremely unprepared for the promotion to area supervisor. Things had expanded so fast. They saw talent in me and moved me to the new wing.
“Welcome to Kingdom Builders,” I motioned with my hand towards the vast project. “I am amazed every time I stand here and try to grasp the enormity of it all. When I first arrived, I had been a no good louse of a man.” I offered a summary of my story. “In and out of jail, booze, tobacco, drugs, women…I mean whoa-man I was a mess.”
I led Nikki to the newest area of construction. I could see the creativity explode in her green and gold eyes. As she gazed at the untouched area, I stared at those eyes…and freckles…and adorable little turned up nose. Her face lit up in animation as she began to dream of what she could contribute to the Kingdom Builders’ newest wing.
Get a hold of yourself, Tom. I shook my head to clear my thoughts.
Nikki whirled around, grabbed my arms, and looked me straight in the face. “We have to get busy. We’re gonna be packed tomorrow, and we’ll have more workers, too.”
“How do you know?” I freely stared into her eyes. They had black flecks in them, too.
“Because, hundreds will be born again tonight, and many will be called.” She couldn’t hide her excitement. “Last night I worked set up crew at the Super-Dome and he walked in and…”
“Who walked in?” I cut her off. I think she forgot that I didn’t know her story.
“Billy Graham, duh.” She actually tapped my forehead and pronounced, “Dork slap.”
“Anyway,” Nikki continued, undaunted by my dorkiness, “I haven’t been to church in forever. Not that I ever fell away, but I certainly wasn’t serving God.”
“Uh-huh,” I nodded deliberately.
“Okay. I backslid…bad,” her nose wrinkled.
“So, he walked around and thanked us for our hard work. He took time to talk to us, and it got me to thinking about how he always says, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Nikki tried to sound manly.
“Then it hit me. Am I born again? Am I part of the Kingdom of God? I even remembered being called into ministry as a teen. Just then, Rev. Graham walked up and shook my hand. He looked me square in the eye and said: You, my dear, are called to be a Kingdom Builder, not a Kingdom Dweller. Do not run from it anymore.”
“That’s…wow.” My heart banged like a bass drum. “Lord, I’ve begged for a Kingdom Builder partner.”
“I’m done dwelling and I’m here to build,” Nikki beamed. “Where do we start?”
Yes, where do we start? Whoa-man.
Author’s note: This is a fictional story to honor Billy Graham, a great Kingdom Builder.
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