Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GREEN (01/19/17)
- TITLE: Not A Clue
By Sherry Brock
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“Jodie?” My daughter follows the direction of my gaze.
“You know...Jodie...youth group...the new girl?”
“Oh, yeah, Jodie Swanson...that's her.” Question answered she looks at her cell, signaling our conversation's over.
But I'm not finished.
“Why would she be coming out of a spa? Isn't she the one you guys gave money to last week...something about her family paying some bills?”
Kasey raises her head, and blinks. “Yeah...you gave me a twenty or something for her, right? Good question, Mom.”
Just another example of a new kid in youth group taking advantage of Bro. Justin's inexperience and good nature. Mental note: talk to him on Sunday.
I find him on Sunday chatting in the kitchen with a pack of doughnut munching teens. He's invited so many new kids that I'm having trouble keeping up with all their names.
I smile and wave. “Bro. J...got a minute?”
His head nods and he moves my way through the crowd of sticky fingers, welcoming each one again as he passes.
“How are you this morning Grace?”
The sincerity in his voice causes me to pause. Why must I be the one to shatter his trusting spirit?
“Good morning to you too. Got a minute?”
It has to be done. Someone must teach him not to dole out favors and money to kids who will just take advantage of his gullible heart. It's not like this is the first time, either.
“I need to tell you something.” I start to fidget with my hair.
“Really?” His eyes widen. “What's upset you Grace?”
“Actually, I'm here to help you.” I avert my eyes so as not to see his disappointment at my news.
“I've discovered the money the church gave Jodie Swanson was spent on spa visits and other non-essentials. I think she was dishonest with you Justin.”
“Oh, dear. Well, I'll talk to Jodie and see what she has to say. You could be right. She's a confused young lady right now.”
My eyebrows rise slightly as my lips tighten.
“Don't worry Grace. I'll get to the bottom of it.”
At home, after service, my thoughts spill out as my husband removes his shoes. “John, I feel so bad for Bro. J...there's that Chester kid, the one he drives 20 miles every week to take home...and the Bailey girls...they didn't bring money for the retreat and he paid their way. Both families are more than capable of taking care of their kids. Now there's this Swanson girl...He doesn't have a clue they're playing him.”
“You're right Grace, but you told him. What else can you do?” He picks up his shoes; conversation over.
But it's not over. I vow to give it one more try.
The next day I attempt to catch Bro. J in his office for a face to face with no distractions. I'm just about to rap on the door when I hear voices. It's the Monday morning prayer group. Dang it. I forgot about the Monday prayer group. Quietly I turn to leave, but the door swings open.
“I thought I heard someone out here. Come on in Grace. I am so thrilled you're joining us today.”
He pats the seat of a chair and I sit. What else can I do? I'll just have to talk to him after prayers. There goes my entire morning schedule.
“Now, let's continue, shall we? First...I have a praise. I've been talking to Chester Farley's parents every week when I take him home, and this week they were at first service. The whole family. What an answer to our prayers, right?”
Justin is smiling so big right now his shirt buttons are about to pop. Shouts of amen abound.
I wait patiently after prayer group hoping to catch a moment, but Patricia, the church treasurer, gets to him first, handing him an envelope of money.
“It's from Tom and Carol Bailey...repayment they said. They couldn't stop talking about your generosity. They apologized over and over for forgetting to send the girl's retreat money. They also gave a donation to the church.”
Taking the envelope with tears in his eyes, Justin looks at Patricia and then to me. “Brings to mind Galatians 6:10...therefore, as we have opportunity, let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
I bite my lip. Looks like I'm the one who doesn't have a clue.
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