Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: STEAM (12/03/15)
- TITLE: The Preacher
By Cindy Duncan
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There was excitement in the air. The church sign had been changed to read “Welcome to our new pastor,” and there were members in attendance that had not been seen in months. Some of the men had arrived early to set up tables for the after service feast that the women had prepared. Everyone was on his or her best behavior, and they had smiles plastered on their faces as the new preacher walked through the door.
He was young, not quite thirty, and as he walked pew-to-pew shaking hands with each member, he seemed a little overwhelmed. As he approached the pulpit, though, he was eager to begin. He preached with the power of the Spirit, which is the only way he was able to preach. His mother sat on the third pew, and watched in amazement, wondering how her introverted son could preach with such confidence. The congregation loved him, but there were some skeptics.
“He’ll run out of steam, preaching like that,” some said.
Others were concerned that he didn’t even grow up in church. “His roots aren’t deep enough,” they said. “I don’t think he’ll last more than a year or two.”
* * * * *
The members had been decorating the fellowship hall for days. There were poster-sized pictures of the preacher and his family throughout the years. Photos of some of the many converts he had baptized lined the tables, along with ones of many members of the church family whose funerals he had preached. There was a banner hung across the wall wishing him a “Happy 25th Anniversary,” yet he still couldn’t believe it was true.
Twenty-five years of preaching and counseling, visiting and witnessing, marrying and burying, and loving these people had gone by in a flash. These people were his family, and the family had grown so much. The same fellowship hall that had seemed so spacious his first Sunday could barely contain the people at this dinner. There were young adults here that he had pastored since the day they were born. Some had children of their own, adding fun and new life to the congregation. But still, there were skeptics.
“How can he keep going, what with all the preaching, teaching, counseling, and visiting? His wife said he gets calls in the middle of the night from people with problems all the time,” said one of the charter members.
“I can’t believe he’s been here that long,” said the newest member. “You would think he would be tired of dealing with people, and ready to slow down by now, but he seems to be full steam ahead.”
* * * * *
The nursing home had called the preacher’s children in for a meeting. The head nurse paused before sharing the patient report. “I’m sorry, but we need to talk. Your father is telling residents that they’re going to hell, and yelling Bible verses in the middle of the night. He’s scaring some of the residents, and it needs to stop.”
The preacher’s oldest son rubbed his forehead. “I don’t understand. He has Alzheimer’s. Sometimes he doesn’t even know who we are. But he’s still preaching?”
“He told one of our nurses that she was of her father, the devil.”
“Ouch,” the son replied. “Sounds like he’s picked up the intensity a notch. We’ll talk to him about it.”
* * * * *
The funeral was really a celebration, for the preacher had finally made it home. After almost sixty years of preaching the gospel, he lay silent in his casket. His grandson, also a preacher, gave the eulogy.
“My grandfather loved Jesus,” he began. After summarizing the accomplishments of the preacher’s life, his grandson brought his speech to a close. “Many people through the years have said that my grandfather would run out of steam some day. I would like to say that they were right, he finally did.”
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