The Parable of Perception
Long ago there was a prophet and king who led a people to a land far, far away from any civilization. It was a region barren and isolated from the world. This kingdom that he claimed by divine appointment would be called "Bountiful". It encompassed two hundred square miles in a territory known to others as "The Barren Land." Although it had a river running through it, it was a harsh desert that had never been cultivated, let alone inhibited.
The king looked over the vastness of his kingdom, and with inspiration declared;
"I will divide the land into four parts. I will keep one for myself and distribute the others to my three sons."
The king had a dream the night before in which it was revealed that the land would one day flourish above all other lands, and become a land of promise. The dream he kept secret.
He called his sons to his house, and there he blessed them, and gave them stewardship over their portion of the kingdom. With a parting embrace, he gave each of them a several small sacks of seeds of every variety and admonished them to be fruitful and replenish the earth.
He told them, "With God all things are possible."
The first son left his father's house sojourning to the land southward. Many hours after walking the rocky and dusty plains, he began to doubt his stewardship. Upon arriving several days later to his destination, he picked up a handful of dirt. Letting it slip through his fingers to the ground, he stared at the sacks of dried seeds held by his other hand. He peered up into the sky and thought, "the sun is hot, the ground is dead, the seeds will not bear fruit." Filled with doubt, he hung his head and retired to his tent. Spent and discouraged there he slept, never to see the vision of what could be.
The second son journeyed to the land westward. Upon arriving and viewing his portion of the kingdom, he felt hope. He did not hang his head but looked around at the possibilities. He could not see it clearly, but he heard it. There was a river that would yield water. With effort he could dig a canal, irrigate, and dampen the soil. It would not be an easy task, but it could be done! He began his labor to build the canal. The days became long and tiresome. Doubt crept in and he began to say, "My burden is heavy, I will do what I can!" Alone, he proceeded to plant and cultivate. He believed that he could do it, but it would take years to bear a respectable crop. As tradition would have it, he would do it similar to the way other men had done it before, and without. Surely, some good would come from his efforts.
The third son traveled to the land eastward. As luck would have it, this portion of the land would be more difficult to cultivate than the land of his brothers. It would be back-breaking and exhausting work. When he arrived to his destination, he came to a greater understanding of what "barren" really meant.
Doubt began to emerge. Resisting it, he knelt down in solemn prayer and gave thanks. Prompted by the Spirit he reverently consecrated and dedicated the land. This he did to fulfill God's purposes. Upon rising to his feet a grand vision was opened to him. Unfolding before his eyes he saw a land of milk and honey. He witnessed crops abounding in endless fields. He observed harvests that were plentiful. People from foreign lands gathered to this blessed place. There, they were nourished, fed, and clothed. He saw that all were invited into the community of Christ. None were strangers, they shared equally, and everyone did their part. In the Spirit of thanksgiving they feasted upon the land, rejoicing daily for the good fortune poured down from heaven. The vision then closed.
Although a long journey, with gratitude the third son returned to his father's house. Begging for permission, he requested his father's approval to gather a few humble souls "to come labor in the land of promise and rejoice therein with him." The king's heart leaped within, and he was moved to feel great gladness.
He marveled that his third son had seen the same vision bestowed upon him in a dream months earlier. Permission was granted so that divine purposes could be fulfilled. The third son gathered a faithful few, and returned eastward to the land of inheritance. And there, by the sweat of their brow, they labored diligently. Praying over their crops daily, they continued to till the earth. The season was quickened for their sakes, and the fruits of their labor were manifested. As they reaped what they sowed, a mighty change occurred in the land. The barren desert became a promised land, rich and fertile, bearing much fruit.
And thus it came to pass, because of their diligence and faith in keeping their stewardships, their trust in God waxed strong. And He blessed them, and lifted them. The prophesy in the king's dream was fulfilled. And many came unto Christ. And they became a blessed people above all people. And they rejoiced in their Maker. And thus it was so. Amen
What was the difference between the three sons? They all had the same opportunity. The land of their inheritance was similar. Why did one flourish and the others not?
The first son had no vision. Pessimism became his constant companion. Doubt from within, extinguished the wonderful possibilities of a bounteous future. He lacked gratitude for the opportunity to grow and achieve something of greatness. He did not seek divine counsel.
The second son saw some potential. He believed that he could achieve great things, but only on his own. His purposes were not God's purposes. He was proud, he would do it alone! He did not seek revelation. He viewed the endowment of land as his and not to share. The second son did not understand the stewardship that he was given.
The third son had moments of uncertainty. But, he then turned to God in prayer, blessed and dedicated the land to his Master's purposes. Revelation opened to him, and he continued in faith, believing. His faith was demonstrated by his works. Without hesitation and in haste, he followed the promptings of the Spirit. He humbly showed thankfulness for the opportunity laid before him. His heart was full of gratitude. He openly shared his blessings with others. He became one with the Master, and the results became the fulfillment of prophesy.
Our attitudes and efforts often prevent us from seeing the reason God chose us to fulfill a calling, or assignment. The misguided perception of the importance of a call, can smother any meaningful results. Those lost results could have been life changing experiences for us and others.
When we know and understand the divine source behind a calling, our heart is changed. We want to give our Lord, our very best. We magnify His love and serve Him diligently. We seek a partnership and gain a companionship. May the perception of our callings always be clear. Divine appointment when carried out by the Spirit, always brings divine blessings. For this purpose and to this end, we are called.
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