Lectionary Year A
January 31, 1999
I Corinthians 1:18-31

Step V: Hermeneutical Bridge

Used by permission from Lectionary Tales for the Pulpit by Merle G. Franke.

Consider Your Call

      "But I am just a housewife," Elaine apoligized to her pastor as he was drinking coffee with her in her kitchen.
      "Time out for a moment," Pastor Carter replied kindly but firmly. "I for one have long ago eliminated from my vocabulary the phrase 'just a housewife.' That phrase diminshes the important task of managing a home and a household, as you'v done for, what, 40 years?"
      "Let's see, 40? Yes, I guess it's close to 40 years - raising four kids and keeping my husband well fed," she chuckled.
      Pastor Carter sipped his coffee, then said with a smile, "Elaine, in my book that's probably one of the most importan tasks in all of human society. It makes that phrase 'just a housewife,' a little out of date, doesn't it?"
      Elaine blushed a wee bit. "Yeah, perhaps. More coffee?" She was rather hoping the pastor would get off the subject of how important being "just a housewife" was. But no such luck.
      Pastor Carter continued, "That's why I believe so strongly that you are the person to run our new outreach project." The congregation had recently voted to open a thrift shop in a seedy section of town where the poor and indigent and homeless could purchase used clothing and other supplies for their daily living at affordable prices.
      "But look at all the well-educated women - and men - we have in our congregation. They could do a better job than I in that project," Elaine argued, although she knew she wasn't convincing enough. But she added one more disqualification. "I only have a high school education, and sometimes I don't know how I got through that."
      Pastor Carter pretended not to hear tha last comment. "You know what, Elaine?" he replied. "You are not only a very caring and loving person, but you are a very wise woman."
      "With a high school diploma?" she inquired teasingly.
      "Well, you are wise enough to know," her pastor replied, "that academic diplomas don't create wisdom. I'm talking about being wise, and that you are. But let's get back to the subject of running the thrift shop."
      "I was hoping you'd forget," Elaine laughed. "You know, I don't know much about keeping books or keeping track of all that stuff people would bring in and ..." she trailed off.
      "Who has done the shopping at your home all through the years? You?" the pastor asked. "And who wrote the checks and paid the bills? You?"
      "Yes," Elaine replied.
      Pastor Carter took another sip of coffee and glanced over the top of the cup to see her smiling ever so slightly. "I don't want you to do this," he said, "if it puts too much pressure on you...think about it for a while."
      Elaine paused, then said, "I want to talk it over with my husband first. When did you say you wanted the to shop open?"

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