Category Archives: Short Stories

The Most Prized Possession

Three young ladies were asked to bring in their most prized possessions. The first brought in a box filled with dolls. “My daddy used to get me a new one whenever he went someplace new,” she explained. “Every time I got one it reminded me of how much he loves me.”

The second brought in a bag containing a number of dresses. “My mother made each of these with her own two hands,” she said, “with every stitch I saw how much my mother loved and cared about me.”

The last brought in a small sack, out of it she pulled a Bible. “My Father gave this to me with great care,” she stated. “He showed me his love and devotion on every page and every day I open it and am reminded of his love, looking forward to the time when I can be with him forever.”

The beauty of the pages of Scripture is unmatched by anything this world has to offer. As much as we value the prized possessions from those we love, we must be focused even more on laying up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). The Psalmist wrote, “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:10-11).

What is your most prized possession?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Short Stories

The Challenges of “Success”

Three young brothers went to a wise old patriarch to seek his advice about how to become successful in life. As they came before him, he stated that there were many ways to meet the human standard of success; because of this, they would need to tell him the means by which they wanted to be successful.

“What is the greatest goal you would need to obtain to consider yourself a success?” The old man asked.

 “It would have to be popularity,” said the first brother.

“That is a difficult means of success,” said the patriarch. “For in order to be successful by popularity you must be willing to find what most people like and become that. Popularity will also require that you not just find what is favorable to people now, but to continuously do so in the future. It will require you to put aside your own principles, beliefs, desires, and feelings in order to blend into the framework of the majority. In order to reach your ultimate goal you will have to sell yourself to the majority, but that majority can just as quickly become the minority; so you must be willing to change at a moment’s notice. It is a very dangerous goal that can quickly lead to your demise.”

“What is your goal to consider yourself successful?” The old man then said to the second brother.

“Success would require that I be wealthy so that I may have all my heart desires,” the second brother replied.

“That is also a very difficult means of success,” the wise man assured him, “for it is an unsure and unsecured measurement of it. There are few ways to become truly rich in this world: you must have it given to you by those already wealthy, you must take it through manipulation and other dishonest means, or you must find and create or produce something that many people need and for which they will pay. As with your brother, though, you will find that the greatest challenge of all is not gaining wealth, but keeping it. You will quickly make enemies, whether by the means of your acquiring the wealth or the jealousy of it. You will also have to find ways of keeping large sums of wealth entering your pockets. This requires additional work because there will be obstacles at every turn, both from the people around you and the ventures you undertake. Make no mistake, considering success by wealth will cost you far more than you believe, both in the wealth itself and in the people you have to walk over, leave behind, and ignore or set aside in order to obtain it; and it never leaves one truly happy.”

“And you, young man?” The patriarch said to the third.

“The ultimate success would be to live forever,” responded the third brother.

“So it would,” replied the wise man with a smile, “but it is without doubt true that every man dies. That does not, however, mean that when a man dies he ceases to exist. Man has a soul, and that soul is everlasting. There are two places in which that soul can find itself after death: paradise or torments. In order to truly live in paradise for all eternity it will be a challenging endeavor, for there is but one that controls the entrance to paradise. You must be willing to set aside the menial things of this life and turn it over to another. You must take on his burdens, follow his commands, and accept his rules. This will mean that oftentimes you will be unpopular, poor, and pitiful to those on this earth, even within your own family. However, it also provides rewards beyond anything this world can imagine. For it is true that once you have lived this life in obedience to the Lord’s commands, and the reward is given, it will be there forever and will not be removed. You can then spend eternity in rest and peace. This is truly the greatest success of all, and if you secure it you will have chosen wisely, no matter what others around you might say.”

When the brothers left, they went to work in their lives seeking the measures of success they desired. The first brother changed everything he was to become what people wanted, and it worked – for a while. Eventually, though, he was unable to keep up with the changing dynamics of life and culture; but by then he had given up everything that he had ever held as important and wound up living the rest of his days angry and cynical because of his inability to remain as he desired.

The second brother sought out to become rich and managed to gain a formidable wealth for a time. The problem was that eventually the markets tumbled, everyone had what he was selling, and his enemies did not withhold any underhanded means of trying to destroy him. Eventually, the riches he thought were such a blessing became a curse. In seeking to retain his wealth he spent more and more time working. He lost his family, his friends, and eventually that all-important wealth as well. When his life ended he was as poor as when he started and he could think of nothing but all he had lost and the failure of his life.

The third brother lived his life according to the standard God gave. It meant many of the things others did with their lives were passed up by the brother. He was never rich, popular, or in any way great by the standards of men. Nevertheless, he had a life he enjoyed, a family he loved, and a peace most could not understand. When he left this life, it was not with fear, sorrow, or despair: but excitement, joy, and peace. While most of the world never knew when he came or went, those that loved him knew of his ultimate success, and the promised rest was his for all eternity.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Leave a comment

Filed under Short Stories

The Repeat Button

Eleven-year-old Jason was outside on a sunny Saturday afternoon. While there were many things that Jason enjoyed, among his favorites was baseball. He always seemed to have a ball, glove and bat with him wherever he went.

On this particular afternoon he was in his yard tossing a ball in the air and hitting it with his bat. Everyone else was busy in the house and he was enjoying some time to himself, pretending he was his favorite baseball player about to hit a home run to win the game.

This time, as he threw the ball up into the air, he made particularly solid contact. The ball took a path over the corner of the house toward the driveway. While he thought he had moved far enough away to be out of danger of hitting his parent’s vehicles, the crash that followed a moment later told him that was not the case.

As he ran to see what the damage was, he was hoping that it was nothing more than a dent or a broken headlight. As he rounded the corner of the house, his heart sank and his fear rose. Standing before him was his father’s pick-up truck, which was now missing a large portion of the windshield.

Oh no,” Jason thought, “Dad’s going to kill me!” He quickly tried to figure out what to do. He was sure that telling his dad what had happened was not the way to go. That would only make matters worse and he would probably be grounded until next summer.

Thinking quickly, he ran to the truck, retrieved the ball and scampered with ball and bat to the back yard where he had left his equipment bag. “Maybe if I get everything out of sight in time Dad won’t believe it was me.” He thought.

Just as he was getting his stuff put away, he heard the sound he most dreaded.

“Jason, come here!” came the call from his father

As Jason made his way to the front of the house again, he thought about what he should say. “I’ll just pretend I don’t know what happened,” he thought, “That will work better than trying to invent a story.”

“What happened here?” His father asked as soon as he rounded the corner of the house. He was standing on the porch just outside the door, a hard look on his face and his hands on his hips.

“I don’t know, Dad.” Jason said, a lump forming in his throat. “What could have done that?” The words were harder to bring out than they seemed in his thoughts just a moment ago.

His father stood there, looking at him, not saying a word. Jason could tell he was seeing right through him and his decision to lie was looking worse with each passing moment. “But what else could I have done?”

“Son, we both know that you aren’t telling me the truth.” His father said. “It is written all over your face.”

He pulled a small box out of his pocket. It fit in the palm of his hand and had a small green button in the center of it.

“I am going to give you something my father gave me when I was a boy,” He said. “This is a repeat button. It will only work for a person once. After that, it is nothing more than a box. It will move you back in time five minutes and give you the opportunity to fix a mistake that you have made.” As he handed the box to Jason, he said: “I think now would be a good time for you to use it.”

Jason thought about it a moment. “Maybe if I use it and tell the truth, everything will be fine and I won’t be in trouble.” He took the box and with a look at his father, pressed the green button.

Instantly, Jason was next to the shattered windshield of the truck, but his father was nowhere to be found. He knew what he needed to do.

“Dad!” He called as he headed for the door. “I need to show you something!”

As his father came out, he looked at the truck, then at Jason.

“What happened here?” He asked.

“I was playing baseball in the yard,” Jason explained, “and when I hit the ball last time it came down over the corner of the house and hit the windshield. It was an accident, Dad, I promise!”

His father heaved a big sigh. “I believe you, son.” He said slowly. After thinking for a moment he added, “It’s going to take a few weeks of extra chores and service projects to equal the payment for a new windshield, but I’m very thankful you told me the truth this time.”

Jason’s relief evaporated at his father’s last statement. “What do you mean, ‘this time?’”

“What I didn’t tell you,” his father said, “is that anyone present when the button is pushed goes back in time as well, but just like you, they remember what happened before.”

“So why the punishment?” Jason asked, starting to get angry. “Didn’t I do what you wanted me to do?”

“Yes, you did son, but that does not negate the consequences that come with your actions.” His father sat down on the steps of the porch and he patted the step next to him for his son to sit as well. “You are receiving the consequence, not because you lied the first time, but because you broke the windshield and there are consequences to damages caused, even if it was only an accident.”

“So what good did it do me to tell the truth?” Jason asked.

“For starters, I can guarantee that you would have had a far more severe punishment if you had gotten away with the lie initially and I found out the truth later. But more importantly,” his father continued, “the value of what you did in telling the truth is that you retained my respect and my trust.”

“Those two things do not come easily, nor are they easily put back together once they are broken.” He looked at me and softly said, “There are two things nobody can ever take from you, but you can give them away at any time: your honor and your integrity. Once you give them away, it is almost impossible to get them back, and they will never have their original strength again.”

“The most important thing is that I know you can make the right decisions,” his father said, putting his arm around Jason’s shoulder. “But you need to understand something: that repeat button I gave you will never work again. From here on out, you have to make the right decision the first time. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.” Replied Jason.

“I love you, son, and I want you to do what is right;” his father said, “but you also must learn that there are consequences for your actions, even when you weren’t trying to cause harm.”

“Yes, sir.” Jason said again.

“So, which do you want as your first chore:” his dad said with a small smile, “mowing the yard or cleaning the shed?”

Leave a comment

Filed under Short Stories