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Two Short Stories: Communities Caring for One of Their Own

Story A: The wife of a good man and the mother of two boys called out for help when her husband died and she was left with his debt to pay. The creditor came to collect on the loan and when the woman explained she did not have the money to repay the debt, the creditor gave her a short window of time to pay the loan. If it went unpaid by the time specified, her two sons would work for him until their father’s debt was paid back in full.

Story B: In North Carolina, a teenage girl was abandoned by her drug-addicted parents.  A senior in high school, she rose before the sun each morning to work as her school custodian. After school, she worked another two hours cleaning up the classrooms. Despite her long days, she managed to pull straight A’s in her classes.

Story A: Clearly fearing the future of her sons, the woman pleaded with a friend and colleague of her husband. He asked her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” The woman replied, “Nothing at all except a little oil.”

Story B: The girl never complained to her teachers or to her classmates about her abandonment. In fact, she kept her life private from those at her school. Determined not to end up like her parents, she dove deep into her studies and into her job at the school. It wasn't long before the school councilor realized she was truly alone and in need of help.

Story A: The friend of the family empowered the woman to reach out to her neighbors and ask them if they had spare jars she might have. Her sons went door to door in search of as many jars as they could find. She was then told to collect the jars in her home and begin pouring the oil she had into the empty jars and not to stop until all the jars were filled to the brim.

Story B: When the school administrators learned of the girls struggles they rallied together and a woman who also worked at the school took her into her home. She gave her a safe place, space to do her schoolwork and most importantly, she encouraged the girl to flourish in all she did.

Story A: The woman, told to sell her jars filled with oil to others and with the money raised, pay off her husband’s debt, did as the friend empowered her to do. She secured enough money to pay off the debt and her sons were spared from years of slave labor paying it off.

Story B: The young girl recently completed her high school studies at the top of her class and is currently in her freshman year at Harvard University.

Can you think of a time when your community helped you through a situation in which you were struggling? What did you learn from that time?

Do you know of those in need in your community who you could help along during their struggle? What’s holding you back from helping them today?

Find Story A in 2 Kings 4:1-7. The friend of the widow was the prophet Elisha.

Story B was featured in the news last June. See the story here.

What story are you telling?


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I drink coffee, read books, and travel. I’ve been able to drink coffee and discuss books with friends all over the world, simply because someone built a bridge and I made it east of the Mississippi and beyond. For this reason, I love bridges.