Short Story: Ignoring the Lantern

Short Story: Ignoring the Lantern

Short Story: Ignoring the LanternThe children started on their journey with a light heart. Their father had given them everything they needed to make the journey, including a lantern to light their path.

There was just one problem. As odd as it might sound, the children weren’t using their lantern. They carried it with them–but they didn’t turn it on. Instead, they tried to force their way through in the darkness.

It was comically sad to watch their progress. They agonized over their steps, stumbling forward, all the while failing to turn on the lantern that would have illuminated their path. They complained about the darkness, allowed discouragement and depression to grip their heart, and wondered if their father had forgotten them. Yet all the while, they failed to turn on the lantern he’d provided. They carried it with them and talked about it with one another, but it didn’t seem to occur to them that it would only light their path if they actually turned it on. The few brief times they turned it on, they did so out of ritual, not really using it to look at the path.

Oh, how they were missing out! Had they only let it, they’d have discovered that the lantern’s light would have dispelled the darkness and shown them the truth about the path on which they were walking. When, oh when, would they let it light their path?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 (ESV)

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Story: Comparison Forest

Comparison Forest was a strange forest indeed.

The fact that it had a lot of different types of trees in it didn’t make it strange. What made Comparison Forest unique was how all the trees compared themselves with each other.

The maples all tried hard to stretch their branches higher, hoping to achieve the oak’s height. They wished they could produce the acorns the squirrels and other animals loved so well. Sometimes, one could even hear an audible sigh in the forest as the maples lamented not being oaks. The fact that they offered brilliant colors each fall and delicious syrup each spring (plus seeds the animals loved) didn’t seem very important to them.

On the flip side, the oaks could often be seen drooping their branches in an attempt to look like maples. They felt terrible about being so large and conspicuous. Why couldn’t they be maples?

Then there were the pine trees. They hated how sappy and prickly they were (and how soft their wood was) and wished they could have beautiful leaves and firmer wood like the maples and oaks. It didn’t occur to them what protection and beauty they provided during the winter months when the maples and oaks lost those leaves.

Each tree in the forest was too busy comparing to realize that each of them had a role to play and gift to give.

“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:…” Romans 12:4-6 (ESV)

Story: The Search for the Perfect Food

Steak - Story
  • Steak - Story“This steak is amazing!”

Jessica exclaimed, heartily digging into her steak.

“You think so? I was thinking that it’s not nearly as delicious as that Chinese place we went last night.”

Jessica shook her head at her sister’s comment. It didn’t seem that Sue could be contented by anything. When they were at the Chinese restaurant down the street, all Sue could talk about was how she wanted a steak.

“Perhaps next time we should try something totally different—maybe Indian food,” Jessica suggested.

Sue’s eyes lit up. “That sounds great! Let’s do it.”

Only when eating the Indian food, Sue found it too spicy. So next they tried a Greek restaurant…only to discover it was too bland for Sue.

Next stop: a Mexican restaurant famous for their tasty dishes. Only while eating Mexican, all Sue could think of was how much better Italian would be.

Jessica hesitatingly agreed to go to an Italian restaurant the next time her sister asked her out to eat. But when Sue began complaining about all the tomatoes and cheese and about how what they really needed was a good, all-American steak, Jessica decided she’d had enough.

“You know, Sue, food can’t make you content,” Jessica pointed out. “Maybe you’re expecting it to do more than it was designed to do.”


Do we look for contentment in things that can’t bring it? Or have we learned the secret of being content wherever we are?

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:11-13 (KJV)

Story: Unused Medicine

Maureen stared at the shelves of medicines in awe. Why, Sarah’s medicine cabinet rivaled any pharmacy’s…as did her knowledge of the different medications.

“What does this one do?” Maureen asked, holding up a bottle of pink pills.

“Oh, that’s an antibiotic for infections. It—” Sarah’s voice cut off in a cough that caused her to double over in pain.

“Are you okay?” Maureen asked, concerned.

After the coughing finally finished, Sarah replied in a shaky voice, “I’m fine. I just have a bad infection. But no worries.”

“What’s this cream for?” Maureen asked, pointing to a cream on the shelf.

“Oh, that helps skin infections,” came the quick reply.

Maureen glanced at her friend in confusion. She knew her friend had often complained about her skin infections. In fact, Sarah was constantly sick. “I don’t get it,” she confessed. “If you have all of these medicines, why are you always so sick?”

Sarah hardly looked up from the letter she was attempting to write. “I don’t know. I’ve had the medicines for years, but I guess I’m just doomed to sickness.”

Maureen turned from the medicine cabinet and sat next to her friend. What could be the problem? “Do you take the medicine like it’s prescribed?”

Sarah blushed. “Well, now that you mention it, no, I guess I don’t.”

“So let me get this straight. You have all of these medications, and know all about them, but you don’t take them?”

Sarah nodded, blushing more. “I guess that’s about right.”

Maureen shook her head in disbelief. “I guess we both know now why they’re not working. Sarah, you have to act on what you know.”

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:22-25 (KJV)

Story: It Helps to Plug It In

Short Story

Short StorySusan stared at the mixer in positive frustration. Mixing this cake was SO much work! She was trying so hard, yet it seemed she hardly made any progress. She thought baking was supposed to be fun. What was wrong?

“You are supposed to mix this batter,” Susan lectured herself (and, in a way, the mixer). But lecturing about what she was supposed to do didn’t seem to help at all. What was wrong?

Her mom walked by and saw her frustration almost instantly. “Susan, you need to plug the mixer in,” she explained.

Sure enough, a plugged-in mixer made a world of a difference!

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15: 5 (KJV)

Short Story: Missing Out?

Short Story: Missing Out?

Short Story: Missing Out?Hannah saw her father every day—at least technically. That is, she passed him in the hallway and briefly said hello. Or sometimes she’d slip into his office and ask him to help her…or complain about her day. Yet while she saw him regularly, she strangely missed him.

When she paused long enough in her busy day, she could remember back to the sweet times she used to have with her father. How they’d sit and talk for hours. You know—really talked. Not a few quick words while racing off to an event, but focused, deep, daddy-daughter time.

What had happened? It was a question Hannah began asking herself. She knew her father hadn’t changed—he was still there, available to talk with, arms open wide. No, the problem wasn’t his—it was hers. She’d had her mind so occupied in a thousand different directions that she’d failed to quiet her thoughts long enough to really spend time with her father. She’d been missing out.

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

Short Story: Test It

story test it

story test itThe jeweler turned the stone over and over again in his hand, rubbing it, smelling it, and examining it carefully under polarized light. He wasn’t about to buy a fake stone.

Julie waited patiently. She had no idea her stone would be subjected to so many different tests! “It’s real, I tell you. I paid good money for it.”

The jeweler looked up and shook his head. “I’m sorry to hear that,” he replied. “It’s not real amber. See? Look at it in the light.” The jeweler held the stone up to the ultraviolet light again.

Julie looked at the stone. It simply looked like the stone to her.

“As you turn it around and examine it in the light, you don’t see a rainbow full of colors, do you?” The jeweler asked.

Julie shook her head. “No. So what, though?”

“True amber would have an iridescent look under polarized light. I’m sorry, but I’m afraid what you have there isn’t really amber. The light doesn’t lie.”

Julie buried her head in her hands. Oh, why hadn’t she tested the stone before she invested everything she had to buy it?

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11 (KJV)

but test everything; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV)

Short Story: The Private Who Expected Steak

Justin walked around the army camp dejected. He was a new recruit and was still getting used to army life.

Nothing so far was going the way he’d pictured. He wanted steak for dinner—or at least something edible—but instead was served a pot of something or other that tasted more akin to poison. He wanted a soft bed to lie on, but instead he had to sleep on the bare ground. Was a mattress too much to expect?

“Hey, why the long face?” Mark said with a friendly pat on the shoulder.

Justin explained his woes. “Life is just so hard,” he wined. “Why does it have to be this way?”

To his surprise, Mark looked like he was working hard to restrain a laugh. “Did you really think the army would be easy?”

“Would you please explain what is so funny?” Justin asked.

“Sorry,” Mark apologized, trying to put on a serious look. “It’s just, well, Justin, you joined an army, not a restaurant.”

Justin squirmed. Mark was right. He’d been forgetting what really mattered.

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.” 2 Timothy 2:3-6 (ESV)

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

Short Story: Make Time to Eat

Olivia steadied herself on the counter. Why was the world spinning? She shook her head, trying to shake away the blurriness and focus again on the task before her.

It was no use. She couldn’t keep standing. Wearily, she sank into a chair, burying her head in her hands.

She just didn’t get it. A few days ago she had so much energy and felt like she could conquer the world. Now, she felt like a complete failure and could hardly keep standing. What was wrong with her?

Olivia’s sister Sophia came to her side, giving her a gentle side hug. “Oh, Sophi, what’s wrong with me?” Olivia cried, burying her head on her sister’s shoulder.

Sophia listened patiently as Olivia recounted the week’s adventures. “I just feel so tired out,” Olivia explained. “I want to complete the tasks before me well, but I don’t have any energy to do it. I can’t think straight at all.”

“When was the last time you ate?” Sophia’s gentle question was the last one Olivia expected, but one she needed to hear. When was the last time she ate? Come to think of it, her last real meal was several days ago now. Her only other food had been small, rushed snacks here and there, along with some junk food.

“I’ve had so much to do, I’ve not really had a good meal in days,” Olivia confessed.

Sophia nodded. “That’s what I thought. My dear sister, there’s no way you can complete what you need to do unless you nourish yourself! And I don’t mean just a quick snack here and there. You need a real meal. Your body simply wasn’t made to run without good food.”

Olivia was surprised that, after a good meal, she could suddenly think clearly again and walk without the world spinning. How different life looked when properly fed! No matter how busy life got, she needed to make time to eat.

 But he [Jesus] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 (KJV)

Short Story: Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

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A Christmas Note

What incredibly good news we have to celebrate this Christmas–Jesus came, took the punishment we deserved, rose again, and now offers eternal life to those who will believe upon Him!

I hope the story below will encourage you to share that good news with others. As atheist Penn Jillete said, “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

Wishing you a blessed Christmas season!

Katherine

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Short Story: Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

Jeremy could hardly believe it.

His debt, which he never thought he’d ever be able be able to pay, was paid! This debt was not just any debt–it was a serious one that would have one day cost him his very life. To say he was excited was to put it mildly.

At first, Jeremy told everyone he could. After all, the King who paid his debt offered to do the same for others too. This was the best news ever!

Yet after a few people refused to believe Jeremy, Jeremy got discouraged and stopped telling others. Instead, he kept it to himself.

One day, some time later, Jeremy’s friend Mat came bounding into Jeremy’s hut. “You’ll never believe it!” Mat exclaimed excitedly. “My debt has been paid!”

Jeremy smiled. “My debt’s been paid too. It’s been a couple of years, actually.”

Matt stared at Jeremy in shock. “Then why didn’t you tell me? How could you keep such news to yourself?”

Jeremy wasn’t sure how to respond. “It’s just–” he took a step closer to Matt, but Matt drew back, offended.

“How could you claim to be my friend when you didn’t tell me about this? You would have let me die without telling me of the King’s offer of salvation?”

Once again, Jeremy didn’t have an answer. He hung his head, realizing how foolish he’d been. “Forgive me,” he whispered. “Shall we go tell others?”

Together, they headed out to tell everyone they could the good news. Of course, some didn’t believe them. But others did. And either way, Jeremy discovered there was tremendous joy in telling others such good news. It continually filled his heart with joy again over the gift he’d been given. Oh, why hadn’t he shared before?

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.” Luke 2:11-17 (KJV)

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Evangelism Resources & Christmas Ideas

If you’re struggling with how to begin sharing the good news of Jesus (I know I did for years), there are a lot of helpful evangelism resources and ideas at LivingWaters.com. Here’s a simple idea a friend shared with me that you could use this time of year: hand someone a candy cane and ask if you can share the story of the candy cane (you can easily find it online). You can use that to start talking about how Jesus came to be the Good Shepherd–to lay down His life–to take the punishment for our sin! Or ask what they think is the most important thing about Christmas…and what will be the most important thing the moment after they die.