A young man will learn a vital lesson about being truthful.
|Nathan stared at his open Bible thinking of the final book, the Revelation of Saint John. He looked through his window at the snow on the cobblestone roads and the many-spired castle close to him. The snow filled his mind with the description of Jesus with His head and hair white like wool.
The front door swung open as a gust of cold wind swept inside and a man walked through. “Nathan! Heaven’s Realm Day is on tomorrow. Our family is this year’s bread preparers for the festival. You are sure you have everything?”
“I almost have everything. I just need to get the olive oil and the manna salt. The sellers are closed now though. I will get it at the kiosks tomorrow in the morning. I promise, father,” said Nathan as he smiled coyly.
Nathan was eyed by his father as he turned his head to his side and frowned. “You had better. None have ever come short.” The man exhaled deeply and ran a palm down his face. “Well, I am required to oversee the banner makers. I hope our crops have reaped cotton and that the Gealin family’s silk stock has acquired enough for this year’s holiday. I hear the Eastern caravans are moving slow this year.”
Nathan rose from his seat and grabbed his flask and cotton cloak hanging on a rod iron hanger. “I want to go to see Brythan. He and I are working on an attractive slogan to place on a banner.”
Nathan’s father nodded and put up a finger. “First, check on the Gealin’s.”
“I will father,” Nathan said as he darted past his father and out into the settled snow. His cold breath came out like thick, hot steam. He rubbed his hands together. Brythan’s stone house lay beside the town well. One of the two cathedrals sat at Nathans’s right. Its ten-foot double doors, lay half-way open and Nathan peered in. A priest in a blue robe kneeled before an altar mumbling strange words. He spoke in the spiritual gift of tongues.
Nathan inched inside and stopped a few feet from the priest; he stopped. “Hello, Nathan,” the priest said without looking behind him.
“What is the word from God, sir priest?”
“I sense a small troublesome circumstance will occur.” The priest stood and turned. “But, it will be easily reconciled,” he said as he chuckled and patted Nathan on the back and gave him a peculiar, glinting wink. “I am going to my house now. God bless, lad.”
Nathan glanced at the priest as he passed Nathan. The priest’s brevity in speech was uncharacteristic as Nathan knew him.
Nathan paced outside and looked in both directions; the priest was nowhere. Nathan shrugged and walked a several feet and knocked on Brythan’s door.
Nathan’s friend came out. “Hello, Nathan! Ready to go on planning?”
“For certain, my friend!”
Twilight neared as the sun’s white disk was setting behind the craggy, snowcapped mountains. After much laughter, thought and agreement, the two contrive the slogan-Heaven is our home and earth is our waiting place.
When the full moon shone through the draping clouds, Nathan made his way home from Brythan’s house to his own. He inched the front door open and slipped through then tip-toed upstairs to his room and collapsed onto his bed then slept.
When the first golden rays of the sun reached past his window and into his room, Nathan was roused he sat up on his bed and stretched. “Ah! Such a beautiful morning. Now it is time for a quick trip to the market.”
Nathan trotted downstairs and put on his cloak then dashed out the door into the cold. He said a quick prayer and went to the market corner and waited. Little by little, people set up their tents. Two hours passed and the oil and spice sellers did not appear. Nathan got a knot in his stomach. They should have come by now. He waited. Only the other sellers came.
Nathan approached a vender of bananas and oranges. “Sir, do you know where the oil and spice sellers are?”
The seller laughed. “Humph! Those two turncoats left for another kingdom!”
Nathan felt his stomach dropped and he gulped. He thought. I have no choice. I must go there
Nathan walked through a long dark alley and entered a rundown, walled enclosure with three manned kiosks. He went to one and addressed the man for the olive oil and manna salt.
“Hello, lad. How may I help you?” the man said with a toothy grin.
“I need olive oil and manna salt.”
“That will be ten gold pieces,” said the man.
“All I have is five.”
“In that case, you know what must be done. I will give you the items for a favor in the future.”
Nathan knew it would be something immoral or wrong. He looked down and rubbed his forehead. His inner conscience convicted him but he pushed back God’s Spirit telling him not to.”
“Do we have a deal?” said the man as he put his hand out to shake.
Nathan was about to shake it then he wrenched his hand back. “No! I will not. I will take responsibility for my shortcoming.”
The man smiled again, but with a warm, plain manner. “Well done, Nathan. God has tested your character.”
“I am proud of you son,” said Nathan’s father from behind him.
Nathan turned and reeled back. “I do not understand.”
“The Lord told me that the venders would be gone and that this would be the only alternative. Rather than be shady and dishonest and do a dangerous thing, you owned up to your setback. Remember what the God says in the Bible: “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” For passing the test, you will be the apprentice to Priest Holend.”
Nathan smiled broadly. “Truly!”
“Indeed,” said Nathan’s father. “I have the two ingredients. Let us make the bread.”