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Five Sticks Mini Challenge Entry
by Gerald Shuler 
09/20/08
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Five Sticks


Five inexperienced hikers were lost on a mountainside. The winds were bitter and snow had begun to fall. They had used up all their food and water. In order to find their way more quickly, each person had foolishly tossed their heavy backpacks away long ago. Now the sun was beginning to set and they realized they must start a fire quickly or they would freeze to death.

Each of the five people had only kept one piece of firewood, to be used as a weapon in case a mountain lion ventured too near. Now, they knew the five sticks would need to be used to start a fire that would keep them warm through the night. But, who would be the first to forfeit his or her stick and lose their weapon?

The Millionaire staunchly refused to give up his stick because his wealth had been amassed by holding tightly to his assets. And besides, there was a vagabond beggar in the group. He wasn’t about to give up his stick for the likes of that wretched waste of humanity.

The Beggar, likewise, held his own stick close to him. It was people like the Millionaire that had put him in such a dire position in life. He wasn’t willing to now give up his only possession to bring comfort to the pampered moneybags sitting across from him.

There was also a black man in the group. He knew the group would prefer him not even being with them. His stick would remain with him for as long as the others held their’s.

Another man, a true bigot, knew how the black man felt. He harbored the same feelings of hatred himself. Let the black man keep his stick… he certainly wasn’t going offer a way to comfort his sworn enemy.

The fifth man in the party was a Christian. He would have gladly offered his stick, but he knew the sorry group he was with would not appreciate his generosity. They would only think he was being weak and giving in. So he also held on to his own stick.

The next morning a rescue team found the hikers huddled closely together. All five were dead, frozen by the frigid winds of the mountain blizzard. Each hiker held a stick in their hands… five pieces of wood that could have kept all of them alive.

In truth, it wasn’t the unrelenting blast of winter fury that killed these hikers. No one would ever really know that they had all died from the unrelenting frigid cold of their prejudiced hearts.


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Member Comments
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Catrina Bradley  25 Sep 2008
Man vs Nature, for sure, but it was more Man vs Man that killed them, or Man vs Self even (pride, selfishness, hatred). I like the fable-feel of the story, the lesson is memorable because of your masterful writing.
darlene hight 21 Sep 2008
Excellent analogy!Perhaps would have more impact if each man states his case first person.
Valarie Sullivan 21 Sep 2008
This was great! I agree with the other comment though, it would have been nice to hear their thoughts in first person. Rather ironic, everyone had the means, but not the willingness to use what they had.
Karlene Jacobsen  21 Sep 2008
WOW! What a message on giving. If a man will save his life, he will lose it, if he loses it for My sake, he shall save it. (my paraphrase) This really hits home. I agree about the first person thought. It may come across even stronger if each use their own voice.
Karlene Jacobsen  21 Sep 2008
WOW! What a message on giving. If a man will save his life, he will lose it, if he loses it for My sake, he shall save it. (my paraphrase) This really hits home. I agree about the first person thought. It may come across even stronger if each use their own voice.
Leah Nichols  21 Sep 2008
You're a master for sure, Gerald! Excellent writing, and a great message. I have to be honest, though....it's still Man vs. Man as the central conflict with a little bit of Man vs. Nature as the side conflict. :) Oh well! Nice job! :)




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