Monday, August 27, 2012

The Rich King's Four Wives

     Once upon a time there was a rich king who had four wives. He loved the fourth wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to the finest of delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.
     He also loved the third wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another man.
     He also loved his second wife. She was his confidante and was always kind, considerate, and patient with him. Whenever the king faced a problem, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the
difficult times.
     The king's first wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her!
     One day, the king fell ill and knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, "I now have four wives with me, but when I die, I'll be all alone."
     Thus, he asked the fourth wife, "I have loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"
     "No way!" replied the fourth wife, and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.
     The sad king then asked the third wife, "I have loved you all my life. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"
     "No!" she replied. "Life is too good! When you die, I'll remarry!"
     His heart turned cold. He then asked the second wife, "I have always turned to you for help, and you've always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?"
     "I'm sorry, but I can't help this time!" replied the second wife. "At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave." Her answer struck him like a bolt of lightning. The king was devastated.
     Then a voice called out: "I'll go with you. I'll follow you no matter where you go."
     The king looked up and saw his first wife. She was very skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect. Greatly grieved, he said, "I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!"
     In truth, we all have the four wives in our lives:
    Our fourth wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.
    Our third wife is our possessions, status, and wealth. When we die, these will go to others.
    Our second wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for us, they can't go with us past the grave.
    Our first wife is our soul. We often neglect it in pursuit of wealth, power, and pleasures of the world. However, our soul is the only thing that will follow us wherever we go. Cultivate, strengthen, and cherish it now, for it is the only part of us that will follow us to the throne of God and continue with us throughout eternity.

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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