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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)

By Colin Swann


Marie bounced out of bed and glided towards the bathroom. She had known Jesus for six months now and it still felt as though she was walking on air.

She lustily sang, “Jesus I love you, I’ll praise you forever……,” and thought how wonderful life was.

Marie was over the moon with her newly acquired apartment which was only a stone’s throw from her new place of work. She was to be Secretary for the local Pentecostal minister and was starting her new job today.

On arrival Marie was met by an elderly gentleman. He shuffled the sweeping brush from one hand to the other and warmly shook her hand. “I’m Joe the cleaner. Reverend Roland asked me to point you in the direction of your desk.”

She queried, “Will it be long before the minister turns up?”

“It varies. With it being Monday morning he may be a trifle late. He says that he’s shattered after preaching two sermons of a Sunday. He has to have a lie in.”

When the cleaner left, Marie looked round the office which seemed gigantic for just the two of them, and very untidy – papers and books scattered all over the place. She wanted to sort things out but thought better of it.

She noticed that on the Rev’s desk was a large colourful biscuit tin that was competing for prime position with a golf trophy. ‘Mmm, partial to the sweet stuff - thought he could do with losing some weight.’ Marie had been attending her new church for the past two weeks and was impressed by the minister’s preaching but not with his waistline.

Looking over to one corner of the office she saw a contraption that looked like a mouse trap. The very thought of mice running around sent a shudder through her.

After a while Roland stormed into the office dressed in a sloppy navy and white checked sweater and was seemingly out of breath, as if he had been delayed and was trying to make up time.

“Good morning Marie – see you’re settling ok!”

“Morning Rev – yes, I’ve been reading through my list of duties.”

Marie had heard him called Reverend Roland by the elderly congregants, Roland by the younger and even Ro by one or two of his mates. She had decided she would call him Rev for short.

The new name Rev had startled him at first, and then he mused, ‘Nice to be called a special name by such an attractive brunette. Mmm, I like it!’

“A Mrs Harris rang; said her husband Norman had been rushed into hospital during the night with a suspected heart attack – she wanted to let you know in case you could visit.”

He produced a list of names and explained this was his pastoral team. They were church members who were being given the opportunity for ministry. He stated that he was a big believer in delegating responsibility so that others could develop their gifting. The only area he would not trust to anyone else was his pulpit.

“Ring Mr Jeffrey and explain the situation to him – he does hospital visits. You’ll find him on the list.”

He went over to his cupboard, got out his golf putter and started knocking golf balls into the mouse trap. After 10 minutes practice his whole bag of golf clubs came out.

“I have an appointment. See you later,” and he was off on his travels – golf bag slung over his shoulder. The ‘see you later’ was next morning.

After a few weeks of arranging pastoral visits, Marie was becoming very disillusioned with having to fob off Rev’s responsibilities onto others. At Sunday services she had listened to his sermon series on how to affect the world by the anointing and power of God and she was not amused.

This Monday morning Marie was going to try out a new tack when Rev arrived.

“Julie Johnson rang to ask if you would pray for her mother who’s dying of cancer. I told her you would be over there pronto.”

He didn’t speak as he left the office on what seemed a reluctant visit.

Things got icy in the office after that. It wasn’t long before a disappointed Marie placed a letter of resignation on the Reverend Roland Doolittle’s desk.

She looked at the letter lying there and sadly thought, ‘Doolittle by name and do little by nature.’

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This article has been read 844 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 02/28/08
Oh dear! I've had some experience with pastors like this one and it is disappointing, to say the least. Good characterization and dialogue. I like the ending sentence especially-sums him up nicely!
Seema Bagai 02/29/08
Good story and a great last line.
Beth LaBuff 03/01/08
Ha! I love that you withheld the minister’s name “Doolittle” till the end. (a perfect name for him) What fun! I enjoyed the humor that shines through this and kept wondering what would happen next. You're right on topic. Thanks for writing this.
Jan Ackerson 03/02/08
What a great story--I love this character!

Try to avoid frequently used phrases--walking on air, over the moon, try a new tack--you're an excellent writer who can easily come up with brand new ways to express these thoughts that will delight your readers with their originality. In my revising and editing process, I always try to read through my piece once just with an eye for anything I may have heard or read before--and I get rid of them!

I wonder how many churches have master delegators like that--so pitiful! I enjoyed this very much.

LauraLee Shaw03/02/08
Perfect ending.
Hanne Moon 03/03/08
Great zinger in your last line! Loved this! Good job with the topic!
c clemons03/03/08
A little tightening in the overall mechanics of this piece and a better working title and this definitely will be a winner.
Jacquelyn Horne03/05/08
Good story. Now I realize why the title had blanks!