Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

Duty and the Feast

A Character story about faithfulness.

Once there lived a servant girl named Cassandra. She worked in a large mansion for the Richten family. Cassandra was a diligent worker indeed, but no one seemed to pay much attention to her. She would work extra hard at scrubbing the bath tub, or cleaning the dirty pots after a meal, or polishing the mirror until not a spot was to be found. And she made every effort to have a cheery smile for everyone she met. But, as I said, no one seemed to notice her extra effort. However, when Rachel Richten was around, things were different. No one ceased to comment about her lovely clothes, her good manners, her beautiful hair, and her great mind. The more that Cassandra heard this, the more jealous she became. Soon she had no smile and, she lost the desire to do her best in everything.
It happened that Rachel Richten had a birthday on exactly the same day as Cassandra. Thus, you can imagine how Cassandra felt when Mrs. Richten approached her a couple of weeks before the big day. "Cassandra," she said, "I have heard good things about your work in our home. Therefore, I am putting you in charge of a special surprise birthday party I am having next week. I want it to be the best we have every had. Get the best of everything and make a meal, and a cake, that are fit for a king. We will have over 100 guests and I want them to be impressed."
At first Cassandra felt honored that she was chosen to be in charge of this birthday feast. But the more she thought of her doing all the work, and Rachel getting all the attention, the more jealous she became. That night as she pulled the covers over her head, Cassandra began to devise a plan. "I have all the money I want for this party," she reasoned. "I could get cheap things for the party, and charge them for expensive things. In all the excitement of a birthday party, no one would notice. And then I would have some money to celebrate my own birthday in style." The more she thought in this plan, the more she liked it.
The next day Cassandra set out for the store with plenty of money and a chauffeur to drive her wherever she wanted. She felt very special as she went from store to store picking out the things she would need to prepare the party. She bought a side of beef from an old animal, 200 pounds of #2 potatoes, lettuce that looked a little wilted, and so on. With each purchase, she planned how she would cover up the low quality of the item and keep the profit. Lastly she bought the flour for the cake, and some corn meal to add for filler.
Throughout the rest of the week, Cassandra worked hard, but would not allow anyone to help her in the kitchen. Others noticed that her smile had returned, though her mind seemed to be in another world. Little did they know that she was planning all the fun things she would do with the extra money she saved in her purchases.
The day of the big party finally arrived. Distinguished guests began to arrive in expensive cars, wearing fancy clothes. They took their places around the large tables in the dining room. Cassandra peeked through the kitchen door and got a quick glimpse of Rachel. She looked elegant! Cassandra began to feel terrible that she had cheated the Richtens. But it was too late to change anything now. The meal was ready, and the guests were in place.
Just then Mrs. Richten rang a bell to call Cassandra to begin serving. She picked up a tray filled with salads and entered the hall. As she did, however, the crowd of people stood and began to sing the "Happy Birthday" song. Cassandra waited patiently near the door with her tray of salads. But when they came to the third line of the song, they sang, "Happy Birthday, Cassandra. Happy Birthday to you." Her face dropped in shock as the people applauded and laughed at her surprise. When the guests were seated and the noise died down, Mrs. Richten and Rachel came over to escort Cassandra to the place of honor at the head of the table. Then Mrs. Richten announced, "Cassandra, when I spoke with Rachel about her birthday, she said to me, 'Mother, I always have nice birthday parties. This year, I would like to have a surprise party for Cassandra. She works so hard and always does her best. Let's make her the guest of honor this year.' So that is just what we are doing tonight. I wanted you to work on it because I didn't want you to suspect anything, and because I knew that a good job you would do. The meal you thought you were making to honor another, is really made to honor you!"
Do you think Cassandra felt ashamed? Do you think she wished she had done her best in preparing the party? We are told in the Bible, ". . .and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour." (1 Cor. 3:8) If God were giving the party in your honor, would you too be ashamed?