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The Rich Man

The rich man was lying there on his death bed. He called his family

together and they all prayed for him. It was hard to determine what

emotion most guided each son to the side of their father. Each heart was a

mixture of emotions. The oldest had the greatest measure of what was

almost an eager anticipation for his fathers death. After all he was to

receive the greatest share. That was the law. Or at least the way he

understood the law.

The other sons had similar desires but to a lesser degree. Some of them

had an actual concern for their father. But death was in the air. None of

them held much hope for his future.

The old man had lost so much weight. There was barely enough muscle on his

frame to support his bones. He raised his head and gathered enough

strength to ask for another blanket. And then he rested.

When he awoke only his most faithful sons were still at his side. Or those

most eager to receive his blessing and his wealth. It was impossible to

tell by the look on their faces. Once again the old man raised his head.

They all huddled around close enough to hear his faint voice. His wife

gave him a drink of water. The old man struggled for a breath and then

began to speak. These riches I have collected in my life. What good are

they to me now? Go, go quickly and get the physicians. Tell them I will

give them everything if they can only make me well.

They all stepped back. Now the look of surprise showed on their faces.

Only the youngest leapt into action and quickly ran from the room.

Returning hours later with every physician in Jerusalem.

They are wanted to be first to look at the old man because they knew he was

very rich. They prodded and poked him. They ran every test they knew of.

Almost all of them knew that his time had come and there was little they

could do. But some of them were crafty enough to talk to one or more of

the sons.

They told the sons that it was not the riches they were after, but only the

welfare of the father. But for a small fee, just enough to cover

expenses, they would collect some of the rarest herds and potions from the

farthest reaches of the earth and cure their father. Some of the sons

agreed and paid the sum. What they were given was a mixture of wine and a

few common herbs know to dull the pain.

The only thing they did not know was that there were a number of sons that

were giving the old man these remedies. And he took down every one of them

with eager anticipation.

Now weakened mentally from the wine as well as physically from the old age

the old man called all his sons together. He asked his wife to hold him up

as he looked forward with glassy eyes at each of his sons. He once again

announced the worthlessness of his wealth and demanded that his sins go to

the Romans to bring the finest physicians in the land to heal him. Now

money or beliefs were no object. His life was at stake and nothing else

mattered.

The Romans treated him no differently then the Hebrew physicians did. Some

just looked at him and knew there was no hope. Others decided to deal

through deceit, and sold them even more dangerous potions.

Days passed the old man grew weaker. Now the drugs given him were taking

their full effect. It seemed as if they controlled him and his mind. He

could not stay awake for long. Every time he would awake one of the sons

watching him would slip him more wine mixed with the drugs. Each of them

thinking that they would be the one to save their father. And thereby

securing the fortune for themselves.

As the old man would awaken he would mumble details of his past life.

Stories of his youth. His conquests and his glory. He would bring up

memories of times he had spent with each son. This would bring excitement

to the one mentioned. But he never declared his blessing.

Then one night when the moon was full and frost covered the ground outside.

The cold, feeling like death itself stalking outside. The old man sat up

and called for all of his sons. They all gathered quickly. The ones most

secure in their own desires entered the room with smiles on their faces.

The others with a blank far away look on their face. They all knew the

time had arrived.

The old rich man began to relate another story. This time his voice was

loud and rich. The voice of the younger man that had collected all of this

wealth. He began. A very long time ago I had met a man. Some said he was

God Himself come down to earth. Others called him a fool. A man that

spent too much time in the homes of those with the cheap wine. But there

was something about him. I had to find out for myself. There was this

spirit within me that drove me to seek him. It was not easy to miss him.

Crowds followed him every where. It took me hours to get close to him.

Along the way there were so many people praising him like he was a God. I

thought to myself, I could use a man like that.

When I finally reached him I had to ask another, is that him? “The

messiah” the man answered. He didn’t look like a messiah. He looked like

a peasant. I figured I had come this far, I might as well ask him one

question. Give him once chance to prove he is God. The strange thing is,

I can not recall the question. But I remember how his eyes looked right

into my eyes. like he was looking into my very soul. I have never

forgotten that look. Or the answer he gave me. He said, “sell all that

you have and give to the poor. And then come follow me.”

With tears in his eyes he put his hand upon the head of his youngest

daughter and said, “sell all that I have and give it to the poor. I leave

you all now, to follow my Lord.”

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2 Responses to “The Rich Man”

  1. Mel said

    One word: Wow.

  2. Cindy Chambers said

    That was a very interesting way to tell and end that story. A-Men
    Cindy (COG)

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