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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Telephone (07/17/08)

TITLE: Blessing or Curse?
By Kathy Bruins


“You know, Pastor, I think the music could really be improved on Sunday mornings. I just can’t worship with that constant beat of the drums,” the voice on the phone groaned. Phil Allen never like the change to a blended style of worship, and constantly tried to find a way to change it back to only hymns being used. I just can’t understand how someone who so freely has the opportunity to worship a loving God, says he can’t worship because of the drums. I think it may be more like he won’t worship unless the service is set to his specifications. As I hung up the phone, it seemed to ring the same instant.

“Pastor, Joyce Coffer here. I wanted to talk to you about the loud noises that Jimmy makes during the service. How am I supposed to concentrate on your message when he yells out all the time?” Jimmy was a severely disabled youth that wasn’t able to talk, but when excited, would make noise from his wheelchair. It didn’t seem to bother anyone else. Didn’t she realize that Jimmy is a miracle child? He is alive only by the grace of God. In his own way, Jimmy wants to celebrate that, and we should, too.

A nice walk on the beach sounded good. I drove to the lakeshore and parked among a few cars. I could hear some soft tunes flowing out of the car window next to mine, and the occasional “boom, boom” from a car passing slowly by through the beach drive. All were enjoying the beach in their own way…not really disturbing anyone else.

As I walked through the heated sand that would rub my feet smooth, I thanked God for that sand. It felt so good to walk through it, and it was great exercise for me. Finding the perfect spot to sit on the beach, I planted myself there just within reach of the water that would slide up from the lake from a wave to cool my feet. Again, I felt such thankfulness to God.

Then I heard the theme of the Pink Panther, which meant my cell phone was receiving a call, which meant I was receiving a call. I contemplated using the phone as a skipping stone on the lake. I answered it warily not wanting to spoil the enjoyment of my setting.

“Pastor?” the soft voice said.

“Yes, this is Pastor Greene. How may I help you?”

“Pastor, this is Margery Kline. I was just spending some time in prayer, and was listening for God’s voice. I felt God telling me to call you and let you know what a blessing you are to so many. God wants you to know that he is pleased with your service and how you care for his people.”

I was stunned. “God said that to you?”

“I believe in my heart that he did. I felt a nudge to call you and let you know that. I hope I wasn’t disturbing you.”

“Disturbing me? No, Margery…your call came at a perfect time. You have blessed me more than I can say. Thank you!”

As I closed my cell phone, I felt the wonderful presence of God…as if he were sitting on the beach next to me. Maybe he was.

Technology, such as phones, can be used to bless or discourage. Their use depends on the choice we make on how we will use them. Just like the tongue. It is a wonderful creation, but like James said, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.” (James 3:9 NIV)

Looking at my contact list on my cell, I wondered who I could bless today. I’ll just let my fingers do the walking…they need exercise, too.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/24/08
This story was cleverly written to show how the telephone can be both a curse and a blessing. Thank God for pastors who pick up the phone to listen and for encouragers who hear God's voice.
Linda Grigg07/24/08
Heartwarming story. I especially liked the line "I contemplated using the phone as a skipping stone on the lake." I'm sure many pastors have the same thought! Personally I would prefer to have ended the story after the "maybe He was". Sometimes adding on an explanation to what the message of the story is, kind of kills the ending. Your story was powerful enough for people to think through & make the same conclusion themselves. Great story though
Holly Westefeld07/29/08
Thank you for a stirring reminder of how I use my phone, especially with my pastors.
I do concur with Linda, however, about ending it sooner as a story, though if you had more of a devotional in mind I can see why you concluded it as you did.