Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: HONEST (05/31/18)
- TITLE: A Stranger at the Door
By Phillip Cimei
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Being a Christian, in this part of the non-Christian middle-east, fostered secrecy and underworld activities. Or it meant death. Sneaking from house to house through the dark shadows like soldiers performing some clandestine operative was the norm. Death and persecution lurked at every corner. Watching and waiting. But a different foe would be wandering in the moonlight shadows tonight. And he would find his way into the very hearts of some of the professed believers.
Soon, muffled chatter filled this shanty of a structure. No ornate house of worship for them. They were all poor and lived in the lower-class section of this metropolis. But, they were a community unto themselves. A community of love.
They would rely upon this love to survive. “Blessings upon you and your household,” said the guests one after the other as they entered. A customary greeting kiss, followed by hugs, was the order of the day for each. Then the sharing of their days activities and the needs of those who humbly requesting help.
“The unbelievers killed my husband and ravaged my home. I have nothing but this one blood -soaked dress left for clothing,” said one poor soul. The dress bore the memory of the cradling of her husband’s bloodied head as a mother her child. One touched by her story would wipe her tears and give her a consoling kiss on the forehead while laying a gift at her feet, “It’s my only other dress, but you’re welcome to it”.
Another would say, “Here is some food for you and your children.”
One after the other laying gifts of love—sometimes sacrificing all they had—at the feet of the person in need or at the feet of the homeowner. “Greater treasures are being laid up in heaven, God bless,” the homeowner reminded each giver.
He would continue to encourage humble sharing with the promise that God would always repay, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all of his righteousness and all of these (food, clothing, health) would be added to you”. Their hearts would be moved with compassion for all those needing help. And not just for those at this meeting but throughout the brotherhood of saints. But not all hearts fostered this love. Satan would not have it.
Somehow, he snuck into this sheepfold like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He planted the seed of greed, which is always garnished with lying, into the hearts of some.
How ironic that the one who comes forward with the most and lays a great sum of money at the feet of the homeowner has a name that meant God is gracious. The irony came in the form of a heart shrouded with lying and deceit. The homeowner was prompted by the Spirit to use this deception as a teaching tool, “Satan has filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of what you intended to give,” he said. Firebrands pierced straight to the offender’s soul. God would not be mocked.
That person’s eyes bulged as the mask of his deception was ripped off as a result of this prophetic condemnation. His shoulders slumped as he whimpered with shame. His head lowered as he cowered under the burden of disgraceful deception. His true nature exposed to all. His once faithful heart had become malignant with a disease called lies. He felt his deceptive heart exploding as if God’s hand was thrust into his chest squeezing the last beat out of it. His body slumped immediately to the floor. His wife ran franticly to his side.
Her name was interpreted to mean Beautiful. But, that beauty was a mask of deceit today. She too would succumb to the wiles of the devil. She also would bring fear to the hearts of all as they observe the father of lies succumbing to the Father of truth. They watched Ananias and Sapphira being carried out. And with them their epitaph, Honesty always prevails. I the Lord search the heart.
Author’s added clarification: “So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things” (Acts 5:11) NKJV.
“The heart is deceitful above all things. And desperately wicked. Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9-10) NKJV.
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