Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: ENVY (jealousy of another’s advantage) (02/12/15)
TITLE: But It's Mine
By Joyce Sykes
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‘I don’t understand why they can’t see I am the better singer. I have a wider range of pitch and I know I sound better. But oh no, Sue is the fairrr-hairrrrred child, who can do no wrong. This irks my soul. I have to get up front. I belong up there and one way or another I am going to make it happen.’
Week after week, the cycle repeated, as slowly she plotted her strategy. She began planting nagging thoughts to various members.
“Did Sue seem okay to you on Sunday?” causally she approached Linda, the church gossip.
“I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Why, Eve? What did you see?”
“I don’t know for sure. She just seemed pre-occupied. I know she has so much on her plate right now. Maybe it was just me. Please don’t say anything, I must have imagined it.” She managed to prevent the smile from reaching her lips.
Repeatedly, she planted the little doubt seeds here and there, watching them slowly take root.
“You know, I really think leadership needs to find out what is happening. The worship is just not going as well lately. Sue is struggling.” In utmost confidence Eve planted this last seed in the ear of the elder’s wife, knowing she would run back and repeat every word to her husband.
Each Sunday, all eyes watched for the telltale signs of Sue’s trouble. The weeks turned into a few months, but the damage was slowly eating away at Sue’s confidence like termites eating away at a once healthy log. Sue could sense the change in the hearts of the people, but couldn’t understand it. It felt as if a door was closing here for her. But why? Slowly, her hurting heart began shutting down, she prayed but there seemed to be no answer in sight. Worship at church became a chore instead of the joy it had been. She felt beat-down in her spirit.
“I quit! I don’t understand what is going on but I can’t take this any longer.”
The pastor sat listening to Sue’s complaints. “Well, you have been under a lot of pressure. I understand completely. Maybe you just need some time off. Eve can take over during your time off, I am quite sure she won’t mind.”
Each week, Eve dug her heels in deeper. Teaching new songs and implementing changes. “By the time she is ready to come back, it will be too late. I will be in total control. It is my time to shine.”
One month later, Eve took her place as the new head of the team. No one was the wiser to her scheme. Sue was gone; in fact Sue left the church. She never knew what hit her.
Then one Sunday, an evangelist spoke on something he called “Envy within the Church Walls.” Sentence after sentence seemed to be aimed directly at Eve. She gritted her teeth tighter as each minute passed.
‘Just who does he think he is? I didn’t do anything wrong. I was supposed to be the leader all the time. Sue was just in the way. This is my praise team. My heart is fine with the way things are right now. If God didn’t want me here, I wouldn’t be here,’ slowly her eyes narrowed into tiny slits again. ‘After all, this man is just here for one service. I did what needed to be done for the good of the church.’
Glancing around Eve began wondering where everyone was. The numbers were even less this week. ‘It looks like this church is dying. I knew the pastor wasn’t doing his job. Maybe the new church down the road needs a new praise team leader.’ Slowly the cheesy smile returns as the wheels begin to turn.
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