The concept of configurational forces is applied to a simple, one-dimensional problem that is solved by finite elements. Both the exact solution and its finite-element approximation are provided in closed form. The total energy according to the approximate solution depends on the choice of the nodes. Any virtual shift of a node results in a virtual change of energy, which can be interpreted as the virtual work done by a configurational force acting on that node. It is shown that, in the case of equidistant nodes, the configurational forces acting on the interior nodes vanish. Also, the relation between the nodal configurational forces and the Eshelby stress resultant along the rod is investigated.