Something as Silly as Fear

There once was a King who ruled over the land, farther than the eye could see. North to the mountains and south to the seas, west to the deserts and east to the fields; all this land was his. He ruled with both power and humility, both with justice and with grace. His people, however, were not quick to listen. They worked day and night, earning as much as would please them, but no amount was enough. They were too busy to pay any heed to their King.

And so the King gave all authority to his son, and whatever belonged to the King also belonged to the son. But no more did the people listen to the son than they did the King. Even if the son were to share all the secrets of the kingdom, secrets of unfathomable treasure, the people would not hear it. Attempts to reach the hearts of the people were futile, each falling on deaf ears.

Thus the King and the son designed a plan to reach their people. They called on a trusted servant, a man of the people, to carry a message. “Loyal servant,” said the son, “All authority has been given me by my father, and I have a message of great importance to share with you. Beyond the city’s walls there is a path that leads through the forest. Beyond the trees lies a cave, inside which we store all the treasures of the kingdom. What waits there are not worldly riches but knowledge and wisdom, insight that leads to eternal life.” The servant’s eyes grew wide and he bowed before the King and his son.

“Rise,” said the son, “for I have chosen you to reach my people. A great storm is approaching and there is little time left. I want for all of my people to know this message of everlasting life. If I were to announce this they would not listen, but if the message comes from among them, perhaps they will hear. Now go, and do as I have commanded: Take this message of eternal importance and share it with everyone you meet, that all may know the secrets of the kingdom of life.”

And so the man left, inspired by the words and the message that he carried with him. He first journeyed through the forest to the cave, that he would be able to tell the way to everybody he met. Upon arriving he was amazed at what he found. There were treasures beyond imagining, knowledge more profound than the seas, and wisdom much greater than words could contain. He fell down in gratitude to pray a message of thankfulness to his King.

When he left the place that held the secrets of life, his heart was ablaze with determination. It seemed as if nothing could crack the resolve he carried. But as the night fell, and the path grew long, he became weaker. As he finally reached the city walls he was tired. The message still rested in his heart, but the bustle of the city soon snuffed out his fire. His resolve was broken, and he began to feel inadequate.

What held him back the most was fear. He feared the burden of his urgent message. He feared that he was unfit to proclaim it. And he feared what the people would think of him. And so, he did not share it.

He revisited the treasure numerous times, each time strengthened by its glory, but each time he returned exhausted and discouraged. He settled to cherishing the treasure in his heart, still too afraid to share it with others.

After several months had passed the King and his son called the servant again. “Man,” said the King, “have you done as we have asked you? We look out on our city and see no change in their hearts.”

Ashamed and afraid the man knelt down, pressing his face to the floor. “O King, forgive me, for I have not done as you have asked. I was too afraid. Please, give me one last chance to proclaim your message!”

The King and the son looked at each other. Then the son said to the man, “Surely you are forgiven, but I am afraid that your second request cannot be granted. The storm is already upon us. It is too late.”

The man glanced up with tears streaming down his face, for he realized what he had done. Forgiveness lifted his soul but his heart was weighed down by what he had failed to do. He had been entrusted with all wisdom and knowledge, and his one task was a simple one: to share. But he could not do it, for something as silly as fear.

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