Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)
TITLE: Mr Gregory on line 7
By Melanie Kerr
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With the red phone nestled against his ear, Micah swung the office chair in arc, coming to rest softly against a filing cabinet. Opening a drawer, he ran a long slender finger through the tabs of the folders, extracting a pale green form. Pushing the chair lightly off the filing cabinet, he glided back round to his desk.
"Oh, Mr Gregory! I was informed that you were likely to call. I have a little note stuck to the top of my table - "Mr Gregory will probably call. Patch him through immediately." Hmm… that's what it says, but all the lines are busy right now. Maybe I can be of help?"
Micah had to move the telephone a distance from his ear as Mr Gregory launched into a blistering attack on Micah's boss.
"I understand that you are quite angry…uh huh. He is telling lies about you? I am sure that you know that God doesn't tell lies. There must be some misunderstanding here, Mr Gregory. Let's see if we can't get to the bottom of this." Micah adopted the kind of tone that was known to send crying babies to sleep and smooth down the prickles of angry porcupines.
"Now what exactly did He say?" Micah twisted a sharpened pencil in between his fingers, "Uh hmm…OK… I see."
It turned out that God had called Mr Gregory a fool. It always amazed Micah that people would get very upset at personal insults, but would rarely break out in a sweat when they saw television programmes of millions of people dying in a famine, or floods demolishing people's homes.
"And when exactly did this take place?" Micah wished that the boss would learn to keep a record of his encounters with various people. It would be so much easier if there had been a file to consult. That is what comes of serving an omniscient being.
Mr Gregory was a farmer. He seemed to believe that he was a very good farmer on account of harvesting bumper crops each year. Perhaps if he realised the work that his boss put in to sending things like rain at the right time, he wouldn't sound so arrogant.
"Well, Mr Gregory…it seems to me that you have been blessed." The volume in Mr Gregory's voice hit a new high. It seems that he had decided to build bigger barns to hold all of his crops in. There did not appear to be anything structurally wrong with his old barns except that they were too small.
"Well, could I make a suggestion here, Mr Gregory?" Micah lowered his voice, hoping that his customer would follow suit. "It seems to me that rather than build bigger barns, perhaps it might be a better option to think about sharing some of your abundance with others."
Apparently Mr Gregory didn't agree and was prepared to tell Micah at length why that was not a better option. Others hadn't ploughed the land - he had! Others hadn't sown the seed - he had! Others hadn't been there to harvest - he had! Why should others have a share in his abundance when they had contributed nothing? He had worked hard and he was prospering and why shouldn't he enjoy the rewards?
"Yes, but Mr Gregory…there is only so much you can eat yourself. What happens to the rest? I am sure that giving it away is better than watching it rot in a barn?" Micah tried not to be judgemental.
Mr Gregory was unmoving. It was his grain to do with as he wished, and if he wanted it watch it rot in a barn then that was his business.
"So, He called you a fool?" Micah thought that God's judgement was spot on. This man was a fool indeed. While Mr Gregory was building his bigger barns down there in the temporary world, up here in the eternal world was another storehouse with his name on it. It was empty of compassion and mercy and generosity. How sad that he had so many chances to amass real treasure but had focussed on selfish gain!
The red lights on the reception panel had stopped blinking. The line was clear. Micah pushed a button.
"It's Mr Gregory for you on line 7, sir."
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