The King's Test
by Ryan Duncan
The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out. - Proverbs 10:9
There’s an old folktale I’d like to share today.
Once upon a time, there lived a king who was beloved by all his subjects. Though he was a wise and just ruler he was also old, and had no heir to take his place when he died. The king decided to hold a contest so that he might choose a successor, and sent out a decree for all the kingdom’s children to gather at his palace. Once the last boy and girl had arrived, the king placed them all in single-file and gave to each of them a seed.
“Take these seeds and plant them in good soil.” He commanded, “In one year’s time, return to the palace with your flowers. I will examine how much they have grown and how well you have cared for them, the one who impresses me the most will become the new king.”
So the children set off into the land and the kingdom waited eagerly for a year to pass. On the day of their return, a large crowd gathered at the palace to try and guess which shrub the king would choose. Some of the children appeared holding giant flowers with strong stalks, others had beautiful petals that gave off a sweet aroma. The king examined them all with great interest until he came upon a boy holding nothing but a jar of dirt.
“What have we here?” asked the king, “Didn’t I say to go plant your seed and return with it in a year’s time?”
“My king,” the boy answered timidly, “I did everything you told me to do. I planted your seed in the best soil I could find. I gave it plenty of sunlight, and made sure it was watered every day, but it wouldn’t grow no matter what I did! So I’ve brought you all I’ve managed to accomplish, please forgive me.”
The king smiled broadly and raised his voice to address the crowd,
“The contest is over. This boy shall become my heir. The seeds I gave the children a year ago had been cooked and died, they could never have taken root or bloomed. Many children brought me beautiful plants today, but only one came with integrity, and for that he shall be rewarded.”
We live in a world that puts a lot of value in how things appear, but God is looking for followers who speak honestly and live with integrity. When we live a lifestyle that honors truth, we’re living a life that honors God.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Remember that God desires Christians to live their lives openly and without shame. Are you doing so?
Further Reading: Titus 2:1-14
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