So it’ll be our little secret, capisce?
Alas, since the bag is ripping and little kitten claws are showing through I may as well share this memorable parable I heard the Greatest Preacher Voice Ever share in a Ligonier Conference I attended years ago.
It made a valuable impression as I trust it will for you. Of course reading it is not near as exhilarating as it would be if you were listening to it in his pipe-tobacco-marinated, basement-deep (if the basement was the coolest old school, cozy billiard room ever), Sinai-like, kettle-drummed voice.
Or so to speak.
But, I digress. So, yes, the parable:
“Once upon a time there lived a King who loved being King. He loved overseeing the affairs of His Kingdom and loved walking out on His balcony and looking over His vast, fertile land. But the King had a son whom He loved above all.
They would walk together each evening in the gardens, but one night His son wandered too far. The King called, but there was no answer. The son had wandered into the forest and soon became lost. After all, he was so little and the world was so big. He fell into a mud puddle and tore his princely robe on branches…
The King was beside Himself. He sent out search parties and armies, but to no avail.
After a long night of wandering, the little boy happened upon a village. He was so excited to see people! He ran up to a man and tugged at his trousers.
“I’m the King’s son!” he exclaimed.
“Sure, kid,” the man scoffed.
“I tell you, I’m the prince!” the tattered boy insisted.
“No prince looks like that!” the man replied disdainfully.
Well, he was just a little boy and adults knew more than he did, so, in time, he began to believe them. The days became weeks, and the weeks blended into years, and the Prince soon forgot about his Father, being prince, the castle, the walks in the gardens, everything.
He soon began running with the wrong crowd where he participated in murder, rape, and extortion. When he passed the castle, he would spit on the ground because the King lived there and He represented authority.
One day, the King found out that the most wanted criminal in His land was His son. He was soon caught, arrested, brought before the Kingdom’s bar of justice, found guilty, and condemned to die. The King was over the law of His realm, but if He let His son go free, then all criminals would have to be released. On the night before his son’s execution, the King went to the prison cell where His son was held.
“I loved you with a great love,” He said after a long pause. Tears were in His eyes.
He halted, then continued: “But you became lost and I couldn’t find you. I sent My armies and search parties, but you couldn’t be found.”
The son in the cell sneered.
The King rose and added: “I’ve decided to give you freedom.” And then left.
The son went to the cell door and was surprised to find it unlocked.
“Stupid old man!” he laughed. “He’s more senile than I thought!”
He grabbed his pack and with a sarcastic salute, left his cell, then the prison, and disappeared into the woods.
It wasn’t until some weeks later that the son learned the price for his freedom: the King was executed in his place.
What did the son do when he found out?
How did this unforgettable act of mercy affect him?
Well…you’re the King’s child. What will you do?”
Thank you, Steve. You’re one of my favorites.
But just don’t tell anyone.
Selah, King’s kids.