It surely was the ultimate irony.
It all started when the church built a new house for Marian’s family. Marian worked in the church kitchen, and her daughter Brenda did custodial work in the offices and educational building. Marian’s husband, whom they all called “Mr. Bill,” was disabled, so when their small house burned to the ground, everyone was concerned. That’s why one Sunday morning when the men of the congregation were having their monthly breakfast and someone suggested they pray for Marian and Mr. Bill’s situation, they began talking and soon decided to just build them a new house. No sense praying about something they could do something about. Within a few weeks, they had taken up $10,000 throughout the church to buy the materials. These were generous, kind-hearted people.
The project took about three months, and afterward, the women of the church furnished the house. At the dedication, they all felt pretty good about themselves, and well they should.
What happened next took the wind out of their sails. The associate pastor fired Marian from her job. “Well, she just wasn’t doing her work,” he must have explained to a hundred people, one at a time. “It looks like she felt like a privileged person the way we had done all these things for her and Mr. Bill, and we just couldn’t get anything out of her.”
After that, no one ever again talked about “the wonderful time we had putting up a new house for Mr. Bill and Miss Marian,” since she was now out looking for a job and basically embarrassing them all by her neediness.