Castle 1Once there was an orphanage filled with children. Some were dropped off by parents who could no longer afford them. Others were there because their parents had tragically died and no family would care for them. Others were runaways, tired of being mistreated. So many of them arrived at the orphanage seemingly beyond hope.

It was rare to see prospective parents visiting since this place had received the reputation of housing the worst of the worst. Yet one day the children got the call. The whole orphanage was to meet in the assembly hall at ten o’clock sharp.

The room was buzzing with anticipation. The children were chattering and the workers were all wondering about the surprise visitor. Suddenly, a man entered from the back and the room quickly fell silent. The well dressed man, wearing a black wool overcoat and slightly undersized top hat, took center stage behind the auditorium lectern. He had a warm smile and gentle eyes. He introduced himself simply as the messenger.  The man explained that he represented a very wealthy benefactor who had heard of the orphanage’s reputation. The benefactor had a large castle and desired to invite all who wanted to be adopted to come live with him. The room erupted with excitement and even more questions. The messenger raised his hands to silence the room.

“You see,” said the man. “Every child here is invited to come.” The messenger continued. “The benefactor will be here soon and he has left something for each of you to study in the meantime.” The man could see that the children wondered why they would need to study anything. “The benefactor only wants those who will diligently seek to know the truth about him.” He then went on to explain that because of this man’s fame and wealth, many had pretended to be him and only by carefully studying the provided resource would the children know the true benefactor from the impostors.

The messenger then personally handed out a single piece of paper to each child. The paper contained a single picture of what the kids figured was the man’s castle. Several of the children decided to get together every day to study the picture in hopes of being prepared for the coming benefactor. After a few days a couple of them gave it up figuring they learned all they to know. The next day, one boy named Sam decided he would try to take even a closer look at the picture. He borrowed a magnifying glass from the science lab and began studying the castle in detail.  That’s when he noticed something he never thought he’d find.

As he looked closely at the picture he discovered words, tiny words. The picture wasn’t made up of dots of ink, rather carefully placed words. The boy spent hours meticulously studying them. Eventually he realized the words were sentences and the sentences were telling a story, a very important story about the benefactor. Sam was excited to learn so much about the one who was soon going to adopt him. He went to his friends to share the good news, but none of them seemed to care. Many others in the orphanage didn’t even believe him. Soon impostors started arriving at the orphanage, men looking for free labor in their factories and mills. Each claimed to be the true benefactor when in fact they were nothing more than liars and thieves.

Despite Sam’s warnings, many of the children chose to go with the impostors falsely promising them peace and safety. Then the day Sam had been patiently and faithfully waiting for had come. The true benefactor had arrived. As he spoke, Sam felt as though he already knew him. All those days of reading his word had really paid off.  Even though some of the pretenders sounded similar, none were exactly the same. The boy knew this was the one he had been waiting for. After the man was finished speaking, he invited all the children in the auditorium to come.  Sam was the first and only one of a few that chose to go with him.  Those that came to him truly enjoyed a life filled with joy and love. These children were called orphans no more. Now they were sons and daughters.

Jesus promises, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.” John 14:18-19

“Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15